This paper re-integrates decoration with the function of the object and its social context in Late Antiquity. It examines the way that decoration prescribes the function of objects, for example, through the representation upon an object of the activity for which the object is intended to be used. It is suggested that in some instances decoration may also be matched to the interior decor of a room, i.e., to the context within which an object was used. These correlations of decoration with function and context correspond to Roman ideas of ‘appropriateness’ in decor and, in turn, contribute to the structuring of social identities and social relations in Late Antiquity.

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.

In: Late Antique Archaeology

Following recent theoretical redefinitions of concepts such as ethnic identity, this paper explores the possibility of using archaeological evidence to investigate Roman identities in the 4th to 5th c. western frontier provinces. The difficulties of the evidence and the complexities of studying identity through material culture are discussed. Possible approaches to the archaeological material are illustrated through a case study of the Rhine-Danube frontier in the 4th and 5th c. The use of material culture to create military identities at death for Roman soldiers on the frontier line is discussed, together with an analysis of the relationship of this military culture to subsequent weapon burials, and the use, by Germanic societies, of elite Roman and Byzantine objects to create ruling, martial identities in the 5th c.

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.

In: Field Methods and Post-Excavation Techniques in Late Antique Archaeology
In: Objects in Context, Objects in Use
In: Late Antique Archaeology
In: Late Antique Archaeology
Material Spatiality in Late Antiquity
This book promotes the study of material spatiality in late antiquity: not just the study of buildings, but of the people, dress and objects used within them, drawing on all available source material. It seeks to explore the material world as it was lived in late antiquity, in an interpretative inquiry, rather than simply describing the evidence that has survived until today. The volume presents a series of comprehensive bibliographic essays which provide an overview of relevant literature, along with discussions of the nature of the sources, of relevant approaches and field methods. The main section of the book explores domestic space, vessels in context, dress, shops and workshops, religious space, and military space. Synthetic papers drawing on a wide range of archaeological, art-historical and textual sources are complemented by case-studies of context-rich late antique sites in the East Mediterranean and elsewhere, including Pella, Dura-Europos, Scythopolis, and Sagalassos.
In: Objects in Context, Objects in Use