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date: 20 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The material signature of the Roman period in Britain is undeniably distinctive, marked as it is not only by a whole series of changes and additions to the formal repertoire of artefacts but also by a great proliferation of the sheer numbers of things. The traditional explanation for the changing contours of materiality in Roman Britain has been the over-simplistic narrative of ‘Romanization’. While it is certainly the case that there is a connection between Roman imperialism and material change, this traditional picture cannot be sustained in the face of new understandings of the material patterning in Roman Britain, and of the ways in which people interact with material culture in more general terms. In this chapter, I will review this recent empirical and theoretical work to demonstrate how this is gradually giving us a fuller picture of the complicated and messy reality of life in the Roman empire.

Keywords: agency, materiality, networks of exchange, imperialism, identity, post-processualism, postcolonial theory, phenomenology, cultural practice

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