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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


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Publication details for Professor Richard Hingley

Hingley, R (2006). Projecting empire: the mapping of Roman Britain. Journal of Social Archaeology 6(3): 328-353.

Author(s) from Durham


This article reviews the mapping of Roman Britain, from Roman antiquity to the contemporary age. By reviewing the classical mapping of the British Isles and three particular examples of cartographic representation produced during early modern and modern times, it is argued that the Roman past of Britain has been made to perform particular roles with regard to the creation of early modern and modern imperial discourse. By generating a Roman ancestry for English civilization, the evidence derived from the classical past was used to provide intellectual justification for the colonization of territories abroad, in Ireland, Scotland and the New World. Recent examples of mapping do not challenge the terms through which these ideas of imperial inheritance were defined. Alternative approaches to mapping in the future may seek to communicate different ideas about the relevance and character of Britannia