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Durham University

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Publication details

Hingley, Richard. (2008). Not so Romanized? Tradition, reinvention or discovery in the study of Roman Britain. World Archaeology 40(3): 427-443.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Recent scholarship has claimed that the history of Roman Britain has been discussed in terms of 'Romanization' since the beginning of the seventeenth century. In fact, it is wrong to think that there is a single tradition in the understanding of Roman Britain. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Camden and his followers were primarily interested in the bringing of 'civility' to England, with only a minimal consciousness of material culture (coins, inscriptions and sites). Discussion of Roman Britain was already overshadowed by an emphasis on military identity, viewing Roman soldiers and civilian subjects as essentially separate, the latter little influenced by the former. Only in the later nineteenth century, and particularly in the work of Francis Haverfield, did an idea of cultural 'Romanization' find its way to the centre of scholarly discussions. Far from there being a single scholarly understanding of the history of Roman Britain, accounts have been continually rewritten to reflect the nature of the relationship between the English and their empire