Download file in PDF format: TRAC 2004: Front Matter and Editors’ Preface (pp. i–vi)
The fourteenth Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference was held at the University of Durham Department of Archaeology, March 2004, under the auspices of the Research Centre for Roman Provincial Archaeology. Given the large attendance and the number of speakers at the conference (44 in total), many papers were submitted for the proceedings. This volume includes thirteen of these papers which we feel represent adequately the scope and content of the conference. The papers present and discuss information drawn from as wide a range of geographical regions of the Roman Empire as the scope of theoretical & methodological approaches applied. An equally wide selection of subject matter is illustrated, including the ancient economy, historiography and modern perceptions of the Roman world, production, supply and consumption of material culture, social identities and the experience of social space and the landscape.
Kevin Greene reassesses our knowledge about Romano-British economy, by investigating the social and academic background of those carrying out such studies. Stressing the value of historiography and social constructions of modern perceptions of the Roman past, this theme is continued in the papers by Jake Weekes and Adam Rodgers. The authors use analytical categories inherited from past research as a starting point to re-evaluate cremation practices in Roman Britain and the state of Romano-British towns in the Late Roman period, respectively. They both argue for more complex explanations through the use of ethnographic comparisons but also stress the importance of a close analysis of the material evidence. Fleur Kemmers takes this even further by using numismatic evidence to model Roman imperial policy in the Lower Rhine, arguing that the supply of coins to frontier troops was regionally differentiated as a result of economic and ideological pressures. Her paper highlights the issue of defining regions on the basis of archaeological data and the problem of associating these with conceptions of territorial space and identity in the past.
Martin Pitts attempts to test this correlation by re-creating tableware assemblages from late Iron Age and Early Roman south-east England, arguing for the existence of inter-regional identities in consumer choice. Rather than exploring identity in consumer choice, the following two papers illustrate identity in the context of production. Daniel Keller discusses glass recycling in the Roman world and his case study from Late Roman Jordan examines the relationship between glass recycling and churches. Focusing on rich archaeozoological material, Annemiek Robeerst investigates the influence of Rome in diet and husbandry practices in the Lower Rhine frontier.
The next two papers examine the experience and perception of Roman landscapes. Mick Atha discusses brickwork and ladder settlements in East Yorkshire, highlighting the chronological concurrence of the two types in upland and lowland areas of the region. Eleanor Ghey discusses the experience of sacred places in Roman Gaul, examining locational aspects of ritual architecture in the landscape. Monumentality and spatial experience resurface in the paper by Charlotte Tupman who uses funerary dedications from Iberia both as artefacts and as texts and explores social status and the identities of the commemorated. E.J. Graham examines the conceptual experience and social use of extra-urban cemeteries in Rome, arguing that they were as much a place for the living as for the dead. The social function of space is the key theme of the paper by Michael Anderson. Using GIS, he takes a fresh look at Pompeian domestic space, focusing on lines of visibility between different rooms and spaces. On a different level, Mark Driessen discusses the influence of military psychology on the conception of spatial order and in Roman legionary fortresses, focusing on the evidence from Nijmegen.
In organizing this conference and putting together this volume, many individuals and institutions provided support and encouragement. We would like to thank the session organisers, speakers and all those who attended the conference; the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies for their continuous support of the event through the TRAC bursaries, which enabled us to guarantee the attendance of speakers and students from the UK and abroad; Van Mildert College for providing accommodation. Particular thanks are due to all the speakers who submitted their papers and the anonymous referees who offered their valued feedback, thus making this volume possible. Richard Hingley and Jennifer Price provided their help and support in many matters, while Harvey Watt and Miles Walton were instrumental in the running of the conference. Finally, our thanks go to Oxbow Books and David Brown for his continuing commitment to publishing the TRAC proceedings.
James Bruhn, Ben Croxford and Dimitris Grigoropoulos