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Personal adornment and the expression of identity in Roman Britain: a study of the material culture of appearance

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posted on 11.11.2010, 15:15 by Judith Freda Rosten
This thesis focuses on the use of personal adornment in south-east Roman Britain and examines if and how appearance was manipulated to express different identities. Individual categories of items associated with appearance have received much attention in Roman-British studies in recent years. However, to understand the complex systems of communication being played out through the display of adornment, these different artefact categories need be studied in conjunction with one another. Using Baldock, a site in North Hertfordshire, as the primary case-study, and drawing on other sites in the region - Braughing, Dunstable, Verulamium and Colchester-for comparative purposes, this study has analysed the effect of context on identity display, using the entire range of personal adornment data available from each site. Focusing specifically on the variable use of adornment in burial and settlement contexts and between different site types, this study has provided an insight into how daily interaction between different aspects of society were overlain with a complex, non-verbal communication system, and how in death, the population was unified through the same means that were used to separate during life.



James, Simon; Haselgrove, Colin

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University of Leicester

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