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.
Luke Lavan is Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Kent, Canterbury, where he co-ordinates the Centre for Late Antique Archaeology. His doctorate (2001) considered
Provincial Capitals in Late Antiquity. He is managing editor of
Late Antique Archaeology and directed the Kent section of Kent-Berlin Late Antique Ostia Project 2008-2012.
Michael Mulryan is is Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Kent and is Volume Editor of the
Late Antique Archaeology journal series. His doctorate (UCL 2008) looked at the spatial impact of religious buildings in late antique Rome. His monograph
Spatial ‘Christianisation’ in Context: Strategic Intramural Building in Rome from the 4th-7th c. A.D. (2014) refines this question. He specialises in the religious topography of the late antique city in the West.
"...The book is a timely demonstration of the need to discuss field-methods in late antique archaeology… The value of the book comes not only from its discussion of field methodology, but also from a series of interesting and inspiring case studies, which thoroughly demonstrates how the application of new techniques can deepen our knowledge of sites and regions. Overall, the book is a very welcome contribution to the late antique debate. It will be of use to archaeologists addressing site- related issues or contemplating new field-projects as well as to (art) historians without archaeological training trying to understand how to use and critically evaluate the data retrieved from surveys and excavations."
Louise Blanke (Wolfson College, Oxford) in
Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2016.11.42
All those interested in the archaeology and history of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages in Europe and the Mediterranean, as well as those working on excavations and surveys of Roman sites.