This final volume of New Visions of the Countryside of Roman Britain focuses upon the people of rural Roman Britain – how they looked, lived, interacted with the material and spiritual worlds surrounding them, and also how they died and what their physical remains can tell us. Many previous syntheses of life and death in Roman Britain have drawn mostly upon data from urban or military settings with rural life being limited to the elite residing in villas. Thanks largely to the increase in new information resulting from developer-funded excavations over the past thirty years, this situation has now changed so that we can place the spotlight firmly on the mass of the rural population living in farmsteads and nucleated settlements across the Roman province. This is a world that has rarely been explored before and provides a picture of the countryside of Roman Britain that is – for the most part – far removed from the bucolic scenes of villa-life.
The six main chapters in this volume each tackle a different theme relating to life and death in the countryside of Roman Britain, all combining to facilitate construction of a broad social archaeology of the province. Overall the analyses indicate a geographically and socially diverse society influenced by pre-existing cultural traditions and degrees of social connectivity between settlements. There is no doubt that incorporation into the Roman Empire brought with it a great deal of social change though it would appear that this change was largely to the detriment of many of those living in the countryside.
About the Author
Tom Brindle is a Research Fellow at the University of Reading on a Leverhulme Trust funded project investigating rural settlement in Roman Britain. Previously he was a Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, first in Northamptonshire and then in Staffordshire and the West Midlands.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION by Michael Fulford
CHAPTER 2: PERSONAL APPEARANCE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE OF ROMAN BRITAIN by Tom Brindle
CHAPTER 3: LIFESTYLE AND THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT by Alexander Smith with Tom Brindle Michael Fulford and Lisa Lodwick
CHAPTER 4: THE SOCIAL CONTEXT OF ANIMALS AND EXPLOITATION OF WILD RESOURCES by Martyn Allen
CHAPTER 5: RELIGION AND THE RURAL POPULATION by Alexander Smith with contributions by Martyn Allen Tom Brindle and Lisa Lodwick
CHAPTER 6: DEATH IN THE COUNTRYSIDE: RURAL BURIAL PRACTICES by Alexander Smith with contributions by Martyn Allen and Lisa Lodwick
CHAPTER 7: THE RURAL POPULATION by Anna Rohnbogner
CHAPTER 8: CONCLUSIONS by Alexander Smith and Michael Fulford