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Title: Material culture and identity at rural settlements in the Severn-Cotswold area in the Roman period
Author: Tinson, Barbara Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 5771
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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My research examines how Roman-style material culture was used to express identity, how this changed during the Roman period, whether different types of material culture were adopted at the same time and whether there were differences across different types of site. Evidence for expression of identities related to wealth, status, gender, group identities and ethnicity was also examined. Datasets were analysed by four themes: literacy, including evidence for writing and knowledge of Classical literature; personal appearance, including personal grooming, hair-styling and dress; foodways, what was eaten, how it was prepared and served; and the use of settlement space as the setting for social interaction, and how individuals experienced these spaces. Taken together these provided a more nuanced understanding of the nature of identity expression at each site than is apparent from consideration of each site in isolation, or from consideration of single artefact types. Data from forty-six settlement sites where detailed published excavation reports were available were examined to explore the similarities and differences in the use of Roman-style material culture between 'nucleated settlement', 'shrine', 'estate centre', 'villa' and 'farm' sites, with a comparison against data for 'military', 'urban', and 'Iron Age oppidum' sites. A non-statistical methodology was developed for comparison of different types of artefacts. The four types of material culture were adopted at different rates and in different combinations at the different rural sites types, with a link between the function of a site and the way in which identity was expressed. Consideration of changes over time indicate that, contrary to general assumptions, adoption of Roman-style material culture in the study area was relatively slow and modest, comparable to other areas in Britain at the periphery of the Empire, with little evidence for differentiation of an elite material culture until the elite villa architecture of the later Roman period. Changes in the extent and use of material culture can be linked to the major re-organisation of the landscape in the early second century, and the establishment of Cirencester as the probable capital of the new province of Britannia Prima.
Supervisor: Gosden, Chris ; MacDonald, Alison Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Roman archaeology