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Abstract

A small survey carried out in 1991 throws some light on Late Roman settlement in the region of Diana Veteranorum in the Belezma Mountains in Numidia. All the sites examined showed 5th c. pottery, which suggests that occupation peaked around that time. The reasons for the high occupation density seem to lie in intensive textile manufacture, as well as stock raising, the products of which would have been sold to the army or to the provincial capitals. The collapse of this settlement in the 6th c. can be attributed to the disappearance of the market provided by these sources, as well as to increasing insecurity and, perhaps, the arrival of nomadic groups from the south.

In: Local Economies?

Abstract

Our understanding of late antique archaeology has now reached a point where it is possible to suggest specific field methods better adapted to the material evidence and historical problems of the period, at least for urban archaeology. We need to be more sensitive to patterns of evidential survival that are particular to this era, and especially to engage with the evidential traces provided by patterns of reuse, and by the slight relaxation of civic rules seen in the period. If we focus on stone surface archaeology, study spolia contexts, behavioural epigraphy, small-scale repairs and decorative traces, then we can obtain a great deal of information from poorly excavated sites which were previously considered archaeologically barren. This may, perhaps, mitigate the worst effects of clearance archaeology, which is still being practised on some eastern sites.

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

Abstract

This paper investigates the methodology employed in the recent survey and reconstruction of the major Early Byzantine domed churches of western Asia Minor. This involved both the documentation of construction details, as well as their interpretation by reference to coeval monuments elsewhere. Focusing on this methodology, the author explores techniques of graphical recording and the theoretical framework within which parallels with other buildings can inform the work of reconstruction. The detailed examination of two case studies illustrates the way in which seemingly random scraps of testimony can be interpreted to provide evidence for the missing superstructure of ruined churches. These case studies also serve to demonstrate how the methodology adapts to sites with different characteristics, and helps to assess the credibility of the resulting graphic reconstructions.

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

Abstract

This paper examines the archaeological, palynological and textual evidence for economic prosperity in the Anatolian countryside in Late Antiquity. Thanks to the separate analysis of data for coastal and inland regions, it shows that we do not see any substantial differences in the functioning of the rural economy between these two geographical zones. Therefore, the new demand from Constantinople for agricultural produce or a local economy’s proximity to a long-distance exchange network, cannot explain fully the observed phenomena. The vitality and complexity of local economies must also have played an important role in the economic expansion of Anatolia’s late antique countryside.

In: Local Economies?

Abstract

The methodology used at Ras el Bassit is based on one developed in Britain and adapted for the large quantities of material found in the East. It is designed to allow the integration of pottery with other finds data in order to provide a complete catalogue of the artefacts recovered from an excavation in a format which can be analysed in a statistically meaningful way. Pottery is recorded by sherd families, defined by ware, with rims, handles and bases recorded by fabric type. Quantification is done by number of fragments, weight, minimum number of rims, rim equivalents and, for selected groups, base equivalent and estimated vessel equivalent. Surface deposits or residues such as sooting are also noted. Analysis is made of the overall assemblage and by selected group, usually defined by area and phase.

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

Abstract

This article considers the use of animal bones as an aid to understanding social dynamics in Late Antiquity. Faunal evidence has been deployed to great effect in many aspects of archaeology but, I argue, remains underexploited in Classical and Early Medieval contexts. Making the most of this material will require the development of new interpretative frameworks and an awareness of various methodological barriers. Nonetheless, patterning of data from Early Roman contexts provides a ready source of models to test and develop for later centuries. This process will be especially useful when groups of settlements can be compared (here, major towns in North Africa), and when faunal patterning can be related to contemporary developments in the landscapes where the breeding, husbandry and culling of livestock took place. Here I use the area around Wharram Percy, North Yorkshire as a case study.

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

Abstract

One question lies at the heart of a fundamental debate in the study of the Roman world in Late Antiquity, namely whether the economy was essentially driven by state demand or the workings of the market. Although the growing volume of archaeological data has allowed a richer and more complex picture of the late antique economy, the fact that it can be harnessed by one side as well as the other, means that the debate itself has moved little further forward. For that we need the new models and new questions which can come from comparative approaches. Evidence from Late Medieval England is discussed here, with the suggestion that this rich material, long the focus of a sophisticated literature, has implications those who study Late Antiquity should not ignore.1

In: Local Economies?

Abstract

In Late Roman Pannonia, local pottery was produced in small, local centres, but on a more limited scale than before the 4th c., in the region. A dense network of pottery workshops operated at the time of Valentinian in the Danube bend, which was an important section of the limes. In most of these examples, pottery kilns, situated in villae and rural settlements in the hinterland of the province, manufactured only one pottery type. The larger workshops, situated in more favourable geographical positions, produced not only coarse ware but glazed and burnished wares, as well. Local artisans tried to imitate the decreasing amount of imported terra sigillata, metal and glass vessels, by adopting new techniques and decorative elements. Imported pottery now consisted of only a few types, such as: African Red Slip ware, small numbers of amphorae, lamps, occasional Argonne Ware, and some eggshell type cups. It can be shown that in parallel with the increasing production of hand-made, coarse and burnished ware pottery, imports ceased in the province around the second decade of the 5th c. A.D.

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