Bound Volume Number
Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Arts and Science
the impact that the Roman Empire, ‘traditional society’, northeastern British peoples at Arbeia
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Social and Cultural Anthropology
The research goal of this project was to understand the impact that the Roman Empire had upon the indigenous ‘traditional society’ of the northeastern British peoples at Arbeia, located in modern day South Shields. Within that broad goal, the focus was to determine if the influence of the Roman Empire cultivated a unique homogenization of Romano-British culture, or if both societies maintained their own cultures and lived side-by-side with little cultural interaction or meshing with one another, other than trading goods, etc. To seek out the answer to this research question, I conducted literary research on Roman fort practices and their makeup, relationships between indigenous and colonizing civilizations, the background history of the fort site at South Shields, and also performed archaeological excavations and research at Arbeia itself in June 2015, along with a team of EarthWatch archaeologists and volunteer excavators. Through this literary research, personal excavation, and conversations with leading archaeologist Nick Hodgson PhD, I discovered that contrary to popular and previous belief stimulated by George Jobey in 1960s and 70s, the relationship between the Romans and the native civilians was fairly limited to trading goods and wares, and interactions with native prostitutes. For quite some time, it was believed that the rectilinear enclosed settlements found north of Hadrian’s Wall in the Newcastle area were made by indigenous Britons under the instruction of Romans under a pax Romana (a period of relative peace where there was minimal expansion of the Roman military). However, due to the rise in developer-funded archaeology, archaeologists have been able to more accurately date sites lacking or poor in artifacts by means of radiocarbon dating. Using this technique has led to the discovery that these sites predate the Roman conquest of the northeast region of Britain, and were definitely not the result of development under Roman rule. It is due to this detection that Nick Hodgson, other leading archaeologists in the area, and I believe that the Romans and the native Britons did not form a homogenized society.
Shotton, Eleanor, "Roman Britain in the Northeast: The Excavation and Interpretation of Arbeia, South Shields" (2016). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 933.
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