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Luke Lavan

Luke Lavan and Michael Mulryan

Michel Bonifay

Abstract

Using ceramic evidence, this paper examines the differences between the supply of coastal and inland regions of Africa from the 4th to 7th c. A.D. While a narrow band of coastline across the Mediterranean seems to be fully integrated into a common system of consumption (e.g. importing overseas amphora and the principal African Red Slip (ARS) forms), most of the inland regions seem to be more impervious to non-regional products (e.g. no transport amphorae and mainly local ARS); this is a situation which is particularly obvious in the Algerian high plains. Nevertheless, an accurate analysis of the documentation allows us to discern some indications of inter-provincial contacts via ancient east-west terrestrial routes.

Luke Lavan

Abstract

This article investigates the history of the agorai and minor plazas, excavated at Sagalassos in SW Turkey, during late antiquity (A.D. 283 to ca. 650). It presents new field observations made by the author, based on a survey of stone surface markings, epigraphic context, and spoliation history, and offers an interpretive study of these spaces in terms of their function during the 4th–7th centuries A.D. An assessment of the significance of these observations for the nature of urban government in this period is also offered.

Ellen Swift

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.

Joe Williams

Abstract

A wealth of information concerning the artefact assemblages of Late Antiquity is available to us in the forms of excavated material and contemporary texts and images. Research comprising part of the Visualisation of the Late Antique City project at the University of Kent seeks to identify type assemblages associated with specific activities and types of space within the city. In order to do this it is necessary to apply a range of analytical techniques, some of them familiar statistical approaches and others more specialised, to the available evidence. This paper examines the potential for applying correspondence analysis and network analysis to large datasets comprised of evidence from multiple source types, as well as the obstacles to such application. This will allow us to make reasoned suggestions about the groups of objects likely to appear in settings selected for a visualisation scene. The paper also considers how study of the small-scale spatial distribution of objects can complement research, in the rare cases where exceptional site formation processes preserve assemblages in their primary ancient context.

Jeremy Evans

Abstract

This paper will examine what the Late Roman pottery evidence from Britain can tell us about the economy of the period. There is clear evidence of west and east coast trade routes in the province, as well as the persistence of a pre-Roman economy in the ‘Highland zone’ beyond the frontier. The army was a driver for the economy, but healthy local market economies were also a stimulus to growth. The southern region became particularly prosperous in the 3rd and 4th c., although the region that is now Wales does not seem to have embraced this model.

John Pearce

Abstract

Recent decades have been fruitful for the gathering of new evidence, and for the establishment of new methods and theoretical perspectives in Late Roman funerary archaeology. This paper reflects on three aspects of the new data, distribution, character and dissemination, using examples from Britain and beyond. Grave distribution is strongly biased towards urban contexts, with consequences for socio-cultural and demographic analysis. Opportunities to advance understanding of burial as a process rather than a single depositional moment are discussed, including funerary rituals, commemorative activity, grave marking and the disturbance of human remains. A fuller exploitation of digital dissemination is advocated, in particular to allow one of the richest pre-modern skeletal samples to achieve an impact commensurate with its scale and quality.

John Bintliff

Abstract

One of the most original discoveries of the Boeotia Regional Survey Project, begun in 1978, was that the countryside not only revealed a remarkable density of rural settlement in Classical-Early Hellenistic times, but also a second impressive flourishing of activity during the Late Roman period (ca. 400–600 A.D.).1 Equally interesting was that these eras were separated by a surprisingly severe demographic and agricultural decline in Late Hellenistic and Early Roman Imperial times. When the project turned its attention to the region’s urban sites, more surprising results emerged: conforming to the rural trajectories, cities generally shrank or were even abandoned in the Late Hellenistic-Early Roman period, but most failed to recover their Classical-Early Hellenistic extent in Late Roman times despite the apparent recovery of the countryside around them.2 However, as to the fate of town and country in the twilight, or so-called ‘Dark Age’ centuries of the 7th to 9th c. A.D., that intervened between Late Antiquity and the full emergence of medieval Byzantine civilisation in Greece, only hypotheses and a small amount of data have existed until the last few years. Now, new evidence has begun to cohere into a plausible historical scenario. In this paper I shall review the archaeological and historical data for Boeotia in order to build up a wider picture of Late Antiquity in the context of earlier and subsequent developments. The historical context and wider evidence from Greece for these eras have been presented in more detail in a recent monograph3

Stefan Groh and Helga Sedlmayer

Abstract

The archaeological research carried out within the fort and vicus of Favianis/Mautern, on the Austrian-Danube limes, has provided scholars with important new information for the development of settlement structures and for material culture in the Roman imperial and late antique periods, as well as for the Early Middle Ages. Archaeological structures in the fort were analysed alongside the structures in the vicus. A major focus of this analysis lay in the examination of diverse forms of waste management during the Roman imperial and late antique periods, and the interpretation of primary and secondary rubbish. The findings provide us with new evidence for the population migration from the vicus to the fort in Late Antiquity, for the dating of Horreum ware and late antique burnished pottery, as well as for the transition from the late antique fort to the Early Medieval town.