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date: 16 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The idea of classifying archaeology as a ‘tool’ alongside prosopography, metre, and numismatics, while ‘culture change’, ‘urbanism’, and ‘fall and transitions’ are classified under ‘history’, is provocative to any archaeologist. Romanisation – a topic that has been prominent in the English-speaking literature of the last two decades – seems to involve an implicit rather than an explicit synthesis of archaeology and history. An archaeology of urbanism in the Roman Empire will highlight the hugely varied nature of what we might class as Roman cities and bring us up against problems of functional definition, and it will document the dynamism of life in these places in all its varied forms and illuminate accompanying phenomena in vivid detail. It will also give us images of living and dead city inhabitants and their lifestyles; it will tell us about both poor and rich – in an unstructured way. An archaeology of urbanism will produce a great deal of information that reflects at one remove social structures and social organisation, while yielding little statistical information which can be converted straightforwardly into sociological data.

Keywords: Roman Empire, archaeology, history, urbanism, Romanisation, dynamism, social structures, social organisation

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