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.
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.
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.
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.