Revisiting the Limes: Space, place and experience on the Roman frontiers


  • Anna Walas (University of Leicester)
  • Joanne Ball (University of Liverpool)

The study of the Roman Frontiers has evolved numerous times, adapting around new archaeological theory, and new trends in the study of the distant past. The Limes, once viewed as a stark boundary between the civilisation of the Empire and the barbarity of the lands beyond, is now seen as a permeable and dynamic zone, which impacted the landscape, and the lives of the population, far beyond its physical structures. These studies have, in turn, lead to a reappraisal of the Roman Army and its role within provinces and their frontier zones, including internal military group dynamics, the military-civilian relationship, and the role of the army both within and outside active warfare.

This session aims to build on previous research on the Limes by addressing the issue of landscape and space in the frontier zones. In particular, it will address the use of spatial theory, modelling, and geospatial analysis in the context of the Roman frontiers, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), landscape and terrain studies, and artefact spatial scatter patterning. We invite contributions on any spatial aspects of Roman Frontier study, particularly the use of GIS and other geographic modelling in a frontier context, the use of space within individual frontier installations, settlements, & regions, landscape alteration, logistics, nexus points, and the creation of military and civilian spaces on the Limes. We aim to begin to reconstruct the spatial landscape within which the frontier experience was lived, and to widen the discussion of the Limes by adapting spatial modelling to this context.

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