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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, the significance and complexity of the archaeological characteristics of the early Roman period in south-eastern Britain are explored. The biases and assumptions that have dominated interpretations of this period are questioned, as are hypotheses and paradigms derived from ancient authors and focusing on military and administrative control of social change. Aspects of settlement change are contrasted to problematize the idea of a uniform ‘early Roman horizon’ in Britain through an exploration of St Albans, Colchester, and London, using examples from public buildings and new forms of material culture. The urban characteristics of these early centres are compared and the motivations of their populations suggested. Continuity across the LPRIA and early Roman period in power structures and settlement through the example of Colchester is presented, as is a suggestion to further the exploration of the early Roman period through grey literature and comparison of well-dated sites.

Keywords: urban, town, military, civilian, forum, artefacts, London, Colchester, St Albans

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