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Title: Terrae amissae: A comparative study of Southwest Germany and Transylvania in the mid-third century AD
Authors: Scherer, Evan Sterling
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis is an exercise in archaeological interpretation of the abandonment of frontier areas of the Roman Empire during the mid-third century AD. The regions of Southwest Germany and Transylvania are chosen due to four critical factors. Both are frontier zones beyond the traditional river boundaries of the Empire. They not only had a large military presence, but also urban and rural settlements, providing a diverse assemblage of sites to examine. Furthermore, both regions were ceded by Roman authority during this period. Consequently, this has led to circular argumentation in interpretation of the latest Roman phases of occupation. Similarities of these regions has warranted brief discussion in the past. However, this is the first study to exhaustively work through the data both in German and Romanian. This period of history is crucial in the transition of the Roman World into Late Antiquity, but there is little that can be proven in the archaeological narrative. In general, there is a paucity of literary sources, yet these have led the narrative not only for these regions, but for the Empire as a whole. This thesis seeks to examine published material in a forensic manner, documenting evidence for activity and abandonment during the period, highlighting what is known and what is implied across multiple languages and academic traditions. Additionally, the period numismatic and epigraphic assemblages for each region are set against their respective general trends. The result is a thorough assessment of the limits of our understanding of this crucial period based on the archaeological evidence as it exists rather than an interpretation of the archaeological material via the literary sources. The overarching aim is to highlight the historical and methodological pitfalls that have distorted discussion of both areas to show how further studies of this period might better utilize the physical evidence.
Description: Ph. D. Thesis.
Appears in Collections:School of History, Classics and Archaeology

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Scherer E 2020 Volume I.pdfThesis6.28 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
Scherer E 2020 Volume II.pdfThesis38 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
dspacelicence.pdfLicence43.82 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

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