Chronology in Late Antiquity: A lesson from the Palaestra

Lavan, Luke A. (2018) Chronology in Late Antiquity: A lesson from the Palaestra. In: Laubry, N. and Zevi, F. and Cébeillac-Gervasoni, M., eds. Terzo Seminario Ostiense. Collection de l’École française de Rome . Ecole Francaise de Rome, Rome. ISBN 978-2-7283-1332-7. E-ISBN 978-2-7283-1333-4. (doi: (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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This article deals with the fundamental problem of working in Ostia : how to devise a respectable chronology for a city that was mostly cleared of soil in a few years, with the aid of railways and poor families, for the World Exhibition of 1942. In the absence of photographs and serious notes, we have little to fall back on. I offer a field methodology against despair, applied to the difficult case of the Palaestra. What we need to do is clean up large areas, establish phases between them, and undertake selective excavation of pottery-rich rubbish deposits. From the resultant Harris Matrix, a more nuanced history of Ostia can emerge, of late antique centuries, extending far beyond the « Hadrianic » fantasy of Mussolini. The scale of this exercise makes it possible to assess the reliability and relative utility of different dating methods. Most early methods now fail, but others remain. It seems that future chronology will depend on an uncomfortable cohabitation of old and new.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: Ostia; Chronology ; Palaestra ; Late Antiquity ; Antique Revetment ; Contextual Dating ; Phasing Earthquake 346 ; Temple ; Portico Clearance ; Cleaning Excavation.
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Classical and Archaeological Studies
Depositing User: Luke Lavan
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2018 00:52 UTC
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2018 12:04 UTC
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