Unlike prehistory, the Roman period offers a wealth of archaeological evidence for investigation, with the additional benefit of written sources. It is therefore easy to underestimate the new information that can be obtained from employing scientific methods to complement traditional archaeological research. Results do not always receive the broad attention they deserve or are not as easily accessible to the non-scientist archaeological community as they could be.
This book, part of the International Roman Archaeology Conference series, presents a range of case studies from Italy and the provinces that open a fresh debate between science-based and humanities-based archaeologists. Contributions share a common methodological thread in that the application of scientific methods in each case answers research questions that traditional archaeology alone could not. Two additional reviews – one from a scientific point of view, the other by a Romanist – debate the contribution of science to Roman archaeology from two different angles.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Rome was not built in a day: C. P. Snow and the significance of his Rede lecture today (Irene Schrüfer-Kolb)
From context to economy: charcoal as an archaeological interpretative tool. A case study from Pompeii (3rd c. B.C. – A.D. 79) (Robyn Veal)
Skeletal evidence for occupational structure at the coastal towns of Portus and Velia (1st-3rd c. A.D.) (Alessandra Sperduti, Luca Bondioli and Peter Garnsey)
Animal bones as a tool for investigating social and economic change: horse-breeding veterans in the civitas Batavorum (Maaike Groot)
Are you what you grind? A comparison of organic residues from ceramics at two Romano-British sites (Lucy Cramp, Richard Evershed and Hella Eckardt)
The geological provenance of coloured carbonate mosaic materials used at Fishbourne (Pari White, Ruth Siddall, Charlie Underwood and Marcelle BouDagher-Fadel)
Multidisciplinary analysis of Roman horse-and-rider brooches from Bosworth (Ruth Fillery-Travis)
The potential of the scientific analysis of Roman military equipment: the case of Syria-Palaestina (Matthew Ponting)
Science, archaeology and the Romans, or ‘What has scientific archaeology ever done for the Romans?’ (Mark Pollard)