Download file in PDF format: TRAC 2007: Front Matter and Editors’ Preface (i–vi)
The seventeenth annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference in conjunction with the seventh Roman Archaeology Conference was held in London on the 29th March to 1st April 2007 and hosted by University College London and Birkbeck College, University of London. Over the course of the conference, thirty-six papers were delivered in thematic sessions and workshops organised as part of TRAC , and a further ten were presented in the joint RAC / TRAC general sessions. Twelve papers appear here, representing a cross-section of the themes, regions, and topics discussed during the conference.
Identity in archaeology has become a staple of archaeological theory in the last twenty years, and is considered extensively in this TRAC volume. Leonardo García Sanjuán, Pablo Garrido González and Fernando Lozano Gómez investigate the complicated Neolithic legacy of both belief systems and landscapes that may have formed the basis of ideological and symbolic resistance against the Roman presence in the northern provinces. The paper from Alicia Jiménez reminds us to be wary of binary oppositions such as conqueror:conquered, Roman:native, civilization:barbarism and domination:resistance, while Martin Sterry illustrates the feasibility of utilising the concept of identity within survey projects to investigate the early Roman landscape, and Rob Collins discusses identity in the 4th century on the frontier zone of northern England, calling for the use of more diverse types of data to explore aspects of identity construction.
In the political climate of the noughties, 2007’s volume is also a forum for the discussion of the effects of socio-political matters on the interpretation of archaeological material and on the practice of archaeology as a whole. In this vein Lyra Monteiro explores the utility of concepts such as cultural difference, ethnicity, and ethnic conflict for understanding the situation in early Roman Iberia with the aid of non-literary and modern parallels. Neil Faulkner attempts to recontextualise the study of the Roman Empire within the contemporary discourse of imperialism while refuting the use of postmodernist theories in the interpretation of “Romanisation”. Corisande Fenwick, while exploring the ongoing social tension in Algeria, also forces us to consider our modern and ethnographic sources and question what specific cultural or institutional factors affect the ‘authentic’ voices of a nation’s present or past. Zeynep Aktüre discusses the recent shift in studies of ancient theatre architecture as being motivated primarily by the socio-political context of archaeological interpretation within an ever-changing European cultural paradigm.
As always, TRAC welcomes papers which bring new ideas and challenge existing norms in Roman archaeology, and this year’s volume is no different. Francesco Trifiló, for example, investigates the utilisation of structuration theory to understand and reconstruct daily routines within civic spaces. Lisa Brown looks into the origins of coin-use in burial and analyses the geographical and chronological spread of the practice in the northwest provinces. Cheryl Clay uses the epigraphic record in Rome and Britain to re-evaluate the term “Germani” in Roman studies, and Ben Croxford investigates both the place of humour in the discipline of archaeology and the possible interpretation of artefacts as being depositionally motivated by humourous actions.
The Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference remains an important and an increasingly international event at which scholars from all over the world come together to present, discuss and publish their work. Holding TRAC 2008 in the Netherlands represents the next and logical step for the conference, and a progression towards a new era of constructive international discourse on the subject of theoretical Roman archaeology. As TRAC continues to grow and expand we look forward to welcoming more scholars from different institutions and with different viewpoints, to bring to the table new topics for discussion, inspiration and investigation. This volume was edited by members of the organizing committee, Corisande Fenwick, Meredith Wiggins and Dave Wythe. A great many thanks are due to the remainder of the TRAC 2007 committee, Mihaela Ciaucescu, Nikky Lyons, Jonathan Rees and Francesco Trifilò, for the part they played in the running and organising of the conference as well as to the UCL and Birkbeck students who helped on the day. TRAC 2007 was held jointly with RAC and we are extremely grateful to Andrew Gardner, Ian Haynes and Kris Lockyear for their support throughout the conference and the editorial process. We would also like to thank the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies and Barbican Research Associates for their generous donations to the student bursary fund and Oxbow Books for their continued commitment to the publication of these proceedings. We are very grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their prompt and detailed comments on the papers- without their continued and much appreciated support this volume would not have been possible. Special thanks are due to Val Lamb and Tara Evans of Oxbow Books for all their help with the volume. Finally, we would like to thank all those who spoke at TRAC 2007, and those who submitted their papers for publication in the conference proceedings.
Corisande Fenwick, Meredith Wiggins and Dave Wythe