Blanning, Elizabeth Denise
Landscape, Settlement and Materiality: Aspects of Rural Life in Kent during the Roman Period.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,.
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The Roman period is well represented in Kent’s long history of excavation and discovery and it has some prominent sites. Nevertheless, there has been relatively little in the way of up-to-date synthesis or the application of current theoretical approaches. In common with many other areas of the country, rural settlement, especially ‘non-villa’ settlement, has received scant attention, whilst even its villas are mostly poorly understood. Since the advent of PPG 16 many more such rural sites have been excavated and there has been a corresponding rise, both qualitative and quantitative, in associated data, much of which remains unpublished.
This thesis aims to reassess the Roman period of Kent from a rural standpoint, using a wide range of materials to construct a more nuanced and theoretically informed narrative.
The basis of the study is the Kent HER. The archaeological data are combined with a number of landscape resources in order to reveal the influence of Kent’s highly varied terrain and the ways in which it was understood and exploited. Aspects of building and settlement morphology are examined and the potential of artefactual and ecofactual data for adding refinement to our understanding is explored. In its use of unpublished (‘grey’) literature, it is in line with current research priorities at national level.
Results indicate that strongly patterned distributions of evidence were influenced both by Kent’s physical landscape and by human landscapes of tradition and culture. The county’s archaeological record has features that distinguish it from other southern counties and from the received trajectory of Roman Britain as a whole. This thesis places Romano-British Kent within its wider chronological and geographical context, noting its particular characteristics and finding that it is an eastern, rather than a southern county, following a trajectory very similar to that of northern Gaul.
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