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Fields, farms and colonists: intensive field survey and early Roman colonization in the Pontine region, Central Italy

01 December 2011

PhD ceremony: Mr. T.C.A. de Haas, 14.30 uur, Aula Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Fields, farms and colonists: intensive field survey and early Roman colonization in the Pontine region, Central Italy

Promotor(s): prof. P.A.J. Attema

Faculty: Arts

Archaeological field survey is a research method which involves mapping archaeological remains that have been ploughed up in agricultural fields. For De Haas’s thesis field surveys have been conducted in three landscapes in the Pontine region (central Italy) in a very detailed way, but within restricted areas. An analysis and comparison of the data shows that this intensive approach, unlike critics have argued, yields new insights in the function and status of rural settlements and that it is useful to study agricultural strategies.

These intensive field surveys concern parts of the region that were colonized in the late 6th to 4th centuries BC and they have identified remains from this period. In combination with recent excavations they show that the nature and impact of early Roman colonization was different than is assumed on the basis of historical sources. Archaeological remains indicate that early colonies were occupied strategic locations and housed temples, but they were probably not cities. Furthermore, the field surveys show that there are few changes in rural settlement around colonies: the numbers of farms that have been mapped decreases in the period of colonization, while it is often assumed that large numbers of colonist farms were established. In one part of the region, the Pontine marshes, new farms dating to the 4th century have been found. The research shows that this marsh was reclaimed, parcelled out and opened through an important road. Therefore, in the (late) 4th century Roman colonization did have major impact on the landscape.

Last modified:15 September 2017 3.40 p.m.

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