Roman narratives: the writing of archaelogical discourse - a view from Britain?

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The narrative structure of Roman archaeology places a particular emphasis on the acculturation of the newly conquered provinces. This 'process' known as Romanisation has been found wanting by many commentators on Roman archaeology. Although rejected, it can still reappear and influence the narrative structure of many studies. Reference is deliberately made to the publications of the 'Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference' to highlight the revision of the usage of 'Romanisation' by British scholars during the 1990s. The paper identifies the cultural assumptions underpinning the revisionist views of Romanisation and the key problem of a narrative based explicitly or otherwise on textual evidence. Here, an attempt is made to account for the uniqueness of Roman archaeology as practiced in Britain – in comparison to that of prehistory or medieval archaeology. The paper suggests that there is a need to move on from Romanisation to alternative narrative forms drawing on recent revisionist agendas within the social sciences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-101
Number of pages12
JournalArchaeological Dialogues
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Globalisation
  • Narratives
  • Roman archaeology
  • Romanisation


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