This slim book offers an interesting introduction to Roman gardens, the mythology and history behind them, and the details of their design. Author Anthony Beeson (an expert in Roman iconography – see p.18 of this issue) states that gardens were part of ‘Romanitas’, the set of cultural and political beliefs and practices by which Romans defined themselves, and this point is made clearly and convincingly throughout the book.
This month we are putting the ‘art’ into ‘artefact’, showcasing a number of exciting discoveries that are as beautiful to look at as they are important to our understanding of the past. Our cover story unpicks the details of the Boxford mosaic, a 1,700-year-old floor lavishly decorated with scenes from Classical legend, which has been […]
Review – Early Neolithic, Iron Age, and Roman settlement at Monksmoor Farm, Daventry, Northamptonshire
This report describes excavations by MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) on the edge of Daventry. The archaeology was concentrated in three areas, each remarkably different in character.
A project to uncover a Roman mosaic from the 4th century AD near Boxford, Berkshire, has been successfully completed, revealing one of the most impressive mosaics found in the UK. It was originally discovered towards the end of a three-year project (2015-2017) looking at three sites related to high-status Roman occupation in the Lambourn Valley […]
In the depths of a Cumbrian wood, intrepid archaeologists have been abseiling down the wall of a Roman quarry to document eroding inscriptions left by 3rd-century soldiers tasked with harvesting the sandstone to help repair Hadrian’s Wall.
Two thousand years ago, the Romans marched north and established a centre at York. But while archaeologists have found many later Roman settlements from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, only a handful of sites inhabited by the earliest Roman settlers in the region have ever been found… until now. Over the last three years, DigVentures has […]
Ragstone was quarried from the upper Medway valley in Kent on a vast scale during the Roman period: the walls of Roman London were built with it, and the Blackfriars ship sank with a cargo of the stone. Little is known about the industry, though, and Simon Elliott’s survey is therefore hugely welcome.
The Science of Roman History is an innovative book, bringing together many different areas of archaeological science to comment on the Roman Empire. It is an enormous undertaking to synthesise over 500 years of human history, spanning regions as far apart as the Levant and the British Isles, and obviously many nuances must be abridged or omitted. Nonetheless, the editor and contributors make a valiant effort to create a foundation on which to build and are ultimately successful in creating a baseline of knowledge.
This volume describes the results of some 20 years of investigation at a site near Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. The work revealed a pit alignment and cremation burial dating to the Bronze Age or Iron Age, a middle-to- late Iron Age settlement, two Roman-period settlements, and an early-to-mid- Saxon cemetery. Finds included 12 Iron Age coins, early Roman pottery from 14 kilns, a Roman casket burial, and a Saxon buckle with preserved textile.
Almost a third of this book comprises a review of pre-Roman record keeping, before moving to the title period under headings such as ‘Archives and libraries in the Roman world’ and ‘Epigraphy’. The latter discusses, among other things, inscriptions on stone, writing tablets, and monuments, such as Trajan’s Column, as examples of forms of visual communication. Five appendices are preceded by a final brief chapter on the Theodosian and Justinianic Codes.