Resurgence of Native Styles and Practices in the Roman Provinces


  • Peter S. Wells (University of Minnesota)

Some of the most striking, and iconic, objects of ‘Celtic’ and ‘Germanic’ art in Britain and on the Continent were made during and after the Roman conquests rather than before them during the prehistoric Iron Age. What do these ‘late’ objects crafted in Celtic and Germanic styles indicate about the impact of, and resistance to, Roman military conquest and political domination? Were similar expressions of native craftwork and identity produced in other parts of the Empire – in the Near East, in Egypt and across North Africa? How can the contexts in which such objects are recovered inform us about the roles that they played in the societies of the Roman provinces? For how long after the conquests did these styles persist, and why and how did they change? The aim of this session is twofold. One aim is to explore this phenomenon of the resurgence of earlier, characteristically native styles and cultural practices in different parts of the Roman Empire during the first through the early fifth centuries AD. The other is to compare these late transformations of the earlier, pre-Roman styles in different provinces of the Empire. This latter aim will be facilitated through discussion between and after the individual papers.

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