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Place, Space, and Connectivity in the Roman World

Alien cities. Consumption and the origins of urbanism in Roman Britain

Martin Pitts (with Dominic Perring, UCL & Archaeology South East)

Through the lens of consumption and the analysis of a variety of artefact types (pottery, coins, animal bones, and small finds), this English Heritage funded project explores the relationship between city and country in the territory of Roman London and Colchester. Once thought to have provided role models for aspiring locals, the results of this project highlight the 'alienness' of the urban communities of Londinium and Camulodunum and a comparative lack of cultural integration with their surrounding hinterlands.

Perring, D and Pitts, M. 2013. Alien cities: consumption and the origins of urbanism in Roman Britain. English Heritage / Spoilheap Publications, London.

Urban labour and the Roman economy

This project, currently being undertaken by Claire Holleran, builds on her previous work on the retail trade and on migration to Rome to explore the ways in which the inhabitants of the city earned their livelihoods. The project will consider the structure and organisation of the labour market within the wider context of the demographic, social, and institutional infrastructure of Rome, considering issues such as the impact of migration and slavery on the economic opportunities available to the freeborn, access to training, apprenticeships, and capital, and the potential roles of clientelism and collegia.

Italy as Migratory Crossroads

The project, funded by the AHRC, is a collaboration between Ancient History (Elena Isayev, Exeter), Italian Culture Studies (Guido Bonasaver, Oxford) and Contemporary Migration Studies (Guido Tintori, Leiden). Our aim is to critically examine the relationship between the co-existing phenomena of cultural transformations and migrations in and through the Italian peninsula, from the first millennium BC to current times.

The main research questions we would like to address are:

a)     when and how there is an influential interaction between human mobility and cultural change?

b)     how can we measure the reciprocal impact of migrations and cultural transformations in a given space and assess its outcome?

c)     Is there a relationship between human mobility and certain cultural trends? If so, can we identify recurrent patterns and a rhythm over time?

d)    Why do some forms/scale of mobility generate changes and why others do not?