Modelling Roman imperialism: Landscape and settlement change in Italy

2010-04-23T15:21:20Z (GMT) by Robert Edward Witcher
Through the evidence of regional surface survey, this thesis explores the range of landscape and settlement change in Italy contemporary with Roman imperial expansion. An important role model and starting point for this research is provided by Alcock's (1993) Graecia capta, which similarly uses the results of a selection of regional surface survey projects to characterise the impact of Roman imperialism on a macro-regional scale. The general theoretical framework for this research is provided by post-colonial perspectives on the nature of imperial relations. These emphasise consideration of Roman Italy as not the study of imperialism but colonialism. The recent publication of several major Italian regional surface surveys provides the basic data. These survey results are subject to thorough 'source criticism' in the light of recent work on their collection and interpretation. In particular, emphasis is placed upon the identification or recovery of data regarding their methodological diversity in order to assess the potential for comparison between their results. The approach is developed in detail for the Bifemo Valley Survey using a range of statistical techniques, Desktop Mapping and Geographical Information Systems. The latter represent an important development in the handling of survey data and their utility is explored in detail through a case study application to the area around the Samnite/Roman town of Larinum, in the lower Biferno valley. Having explored methodological influences on the diversity of survey results, attention then focuses of a range of models, which can be used to assess the reasons for the marked variation in social and economic development across post-conquest Italy. In particular, attention is focused towards scale as an important means of conceptualising the tensions between change and continuity, similarity and diversity.




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