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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines urban foundation and development in the Roman period and the issues relating to town origins and purpose in Britain. It focuses on the chartered towns and reviews relating to the three main types of urban settlement—the coloniae, municipia and civitas-capitals—and the practice of settlement categorization. The chapter also contextualizes debate on urban development by discussing aspects of the history of approach to the documentation and interpretation of Roman town foundation in Britain. It discusses the practicalities of town construction and then moves on to emphasizing the need for Roman urban studies to embrace archaeological theory in order to avoid normative assumptions in interpreting urban material and town life. In particular it argues for greater recognition of the relationship between the development of urban spaces, the lived experience within towns, and the existing significance attached to places and landscapes in prehistory.

Keywords: Roman urbanism, oppida, colonia, municipium, civitas-capital, town foundation, fortress, urban space, ritual

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