Marxist Traditions in Roman Archaeology

Organisers: Andrew Gardner (University College London), Mauro Puddu (University of Cambridge)
This session takes place on Wednesday, 16 March 2016 from 14:00-18:00

One of the most important theoretical traditions in archaeology is the suite of approaches derived from the writings of Marx and Engels, and their followers. In Anglophone archaeology, various forms of Marxist thought were influential throughout the mid-late 20th century, from the pioneering work of Gordon Childe, through a more covert alignment with some of the aims of processual archaeology, to the more openly neo-Marxist aspects of post-processualism. While the application of ideas about economic structure, ideology, and social change derived from Marxism has been limited in Anglophone Roman archaeology, there is massive potential for such approaches to be explored, particularly as Marxist thought is enjoying a renaissance of relevance in the early 21st century. Moreover, such approaches provide a promising avenue for theoretical engagement between the Anglophone and Italian traditions in Roman studies, because a Marxist perspective has of course been a significant feature of later 20th century Roman archaeology in Italy. This session is therefore intended both to promote such an engagement between national traditions, and also to explore at the theoretical and applied levels the relevance of Marxist approaches to understanding either the economic and social dynamics of the Roman world or the historiography of Roman archaeology.

Session Programme

This session is made up of seven papers.

1. Finding the marginalised? Being the marginalised?

2. Marxist thought in Eastern European Roman archaeology
3. Crisis, Marxism and Reconstructions of Time
4. Worshipping the Roman emperor: uneven and combined developments?
5. Cult centres in the Hauran 100BC–AD300
6. Architectural reading of concentration of power in northern Iberia
7. Marxist perspective for Roman Archaeology at the end of the Post-Modern Era
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