Archaeologists working on late antique sites have not spent enough time thinking about methodology. Their focus has been on recovering and cataloguing evidence, or on the study of specific historical problems. Digging has often been more important than publishing, which has rarely extended beyond the basic summaries found in preliminary reports. The re-emergence of clearance excavation, fuelled by the demands of tourism, has further reduced the value of urban excavations in the East Mediterranean. Here, late antique levels have suffered, in the hunt for photogenic early imperial architecture. This volume attempts to address this situation by offering a critique of present practice and a series of exemplars, alongside discussion articles on field technique and post-excavation analysis. The articles ranges from urban survey to the study of finds. The book also considers if we need to develop specific field methods appropriate to the study of late antiquity.
Contributors are John Bintliff, Jeremy Evans, Axel Gering, Stefan Groh, Yoshiki Hori, Nikolaos D. Karydis, Veli Köse, Luke Lavan, Zsolt Magyar, Philip Mills, John Pearce, Steve Roskams, Helga Sedlmayer, Ellen Swift, Itamar Taxel, Douglas Underwood, Lutgarde Vandeput and Joe Williams.
The Roman economy was operated significantly above subsistence level, with production being stimulated by both taxation and trade. Some regions became wealthy on the basis of exporting low-value agricultural products across the Mediterranean. In contrast, it has usually been assumed that the high costs of land transport kept inland regions relatively poor. This volume challenges these assumptions by presenting new research on production and exchange within inland regions. The papers, supported by detailed bibliographic essays, range from Britain to Jordan. They reveal robust agricultural economies in many interior regions. Here, some wealth did come from high value products, which could defy transport costs. However, ceramics also indicate local exchange systems, capable of generating wealth without being integrated into inter-regional trading networks. The role of the State in generating production and exchange is visible, but often co-existed with local market systems.
Contributors are Alyssa A. Bandow, Fanny Bessard, Michel Bonifay, Kim Bowes, Stefano Costa, Jeremy Evans, Elizabeth Fentress, Piroska Hárshegyi, Adam Izdebski, Luke Lavan, Tamara Lewit, Phil Mills, Katalin Ottományi, Peter Sarris, Emanuele Vaccaro, Agnès Vokaer, Mark Whittow and Andrea Zerbini.