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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter challenges the traditional view that we have little written documentation for Roman Britain by outlining the mass of written evidence found within Britain, much of it discovered or published since the 1980s, and it looks at examples relating to different sectors of society. Texts are seen as artefacts, and so their study should not just be about their content, but also about how they might have functioned in a society which was mainly illiterate. The integration of textual and archaeological information has sometimes been misjudged, but ultimately 'histories' and 'archaeologies' of Roman Britain have the same target. If different disciplinary requirements in analysis are respected, information can be synthesized to good effect. Histories and archaeologies of Roman Britain need to take more account of the body of writing we have now, rather than that which existed a generation or more ago.

Keywords: texts, inscriptions, writing-tablet, Vindolanda, defixio(nes), graffiti, literacy, symbol(ism), naming, historical

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