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Durham University

Department of Archaeology


Publication details for Ms Emily Hanscam

Hanscam, Emily (2016), Archaeological border studies: the impact of the Roman Frontier on the present immigration crisis, European Association of Archaeologists. Vilnius.

Author(s) from Durham


The immigration crisis is one of the greatest modern day conflicts currently affecting Europe. In 2015, 1,294,000 migrants and
refugees crossed into the EU and claimed asylum. Identity politics significantly impacted their reception, resulting in an often
hostile landscape- a landscape in which the relevance of the past is fundamental. The theory of differential inclusion argues that
as migrants cross the borders into Europe, they will experience a setting which is open to some but closed to others (Richardson
2013). Archaeology is complicit in the creation of this setting, and archaeology as a discipline needs to address border studiessome
have already begun to draw comparisons between modern borders and the frontiers of the Roman Empire (see e.g.
Lafrenze- Samuels 2008; Hingley 2015). There must be a multi-disciplinary attempt to access and understand all the cultural and
ideological barriers resulting in differential inclusion, particularly that occurring in the areas of Europe which still hold something
of a liminal identity. Romania is one such place, which although the nation has yet to draw the same numbers of migrants as
Hungary or Bulgaria, is a space uniquely set up for such an attempt. This paper will analyze the ideological foundations of
Romania as a European nation, the impact of the Roman Frontier on the lower Danube as a modern border, and start to provide
a general methodology for archaeological border studies.


Conference date: 31 August- 4 Sept 2016.