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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, Richard (2014). Struggling with a Roman Inheritance. A response to Versluys. Archaeological Dialogues 21(1): 20-24.

Author(s) from Durham


I am very grateful to Miguel John Versluys for this paper, which raises several important issues that derive from current debates in Roman archaeology. I am aware of the context of Versluys's arguments as I am a contributor to the forthcoming volume Globalization and the Roman world (which Versluys has jointly edited; Pitts and Versluys 2014). I am pleased to be able to develop some of the themes outlined in my chapter for that volume (Hingley 2014b) through this reflection upon Versluys's contribution to the developing debate. The issues raised by Versluys are particularly timely since a number of younger colleagues have observed that the critical focus provided by what I shall term ‘post-colonial Roman archaeologies’ (PCRAs) is stifling innovative research. PCRA is the term I use to address the body of research and publication characterized by Versluys as ‘Anglo-Saxon Roman archaeology’ (for reasons given below). I did not attend the TRAC session at Frankfurt to which Versluys refers, but I recognize his observation that there is a genuine concern about the form and content of PCRAs arising from Roman archaeologists both in Britain and overseas. PCRAs have focused around two core themes: (1) critiquing the concept of Romanization and (2) the development of new ways of approaching the Roman Empire. Versluys suggests that this discussion has culminated in ‘an uncomfortable ending’ (p. 1) for the Romanization debate and his proposal includes the reintroduction of this concept. Taking a rather different perspective, I shall propose that a dynamic and transformative agenda is spreading across several continents and that PCRAs form an important aspect of this developing perspective.