Photo overlooking the totem pole in the Pitt Rivers Museum


During the Final Honour School, students delve more deeply into the subject areas which have been introduced to them in the first year. They will also decide on which three options they would like to take from the following list of 30 subjects. One option is studied in the second year, two are studied in the third year.

Roman Archaeology: Cities & Settlements under the Empire

In exploring the development of towns and their related territories in the first three centuries AD, this course provides an introduction to Roman urbanism and the lively modern debate over how it worked and whom it served.  The study of the physical design of the city, its public and private buildings, and its infrastructure, along with the objects of trade and manufacture, is placed in the broader context of the types and patterns of rural settlement, agricultural production, transport and communications.  This allows various themes to be investigated, including what it meant to live in a Roman town, and in its countryside, and the role of cities in the Roman economy.

Those taking the course will become familiar with the physical character of Roman cities based on selected representative sites (primarily Corinth, Carthage, Caesarea Maritima, Palmyra, Lepcis Magna, Verulamium [St Albans] and Silchester) and with major landscape studies in Italy, Greece and North Africa. Particular attention is paid to problems and biases in assessing the character of the physical evidence; and in testing theoretical models against hard data.  Evidence from written sources will be incorporated where appropriate, but an ability to read ancient languages is not required.  

Last update on 09/12/16 by Robyn Mason.

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