The Analysis of Reused Material Culture for Late Antique Studies

In: Field Methods and Post-Excavation Techniques in Late Antique Archaeology

Abstract

This paper surveys reused and recycled material culture from the Roman period, particularly that found in late antique contexts. While there is a focus on Late/Post Roman material from Britain, examples from wider Late Antiquity are also included. Reuse and recycling is clearly part of normal Roman practice, however particular instances must be evaluated within their specific contexts and the varied motives that exist for reuse behaviour need to be considered. Reuse seems to increase significantly in the late 4th c. onwards in Britain, and this well-documented evidence can most readily be explained firstly in relation to the wider problems with production and distribution systems that led to a collapse in the availability of new durable material culture at the end of the 4th c. and secondly with regard to wider cultural change.

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