BAJR Federation Archaeology

Full Version: Romano British - Is there really such a thing?
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Just a thought for discussion.

Given the different tribes and groups and the patchwork of conquest and resistance Where is RB and what does it represent.

Could I call South Scotland settlment during the often brief occupation by Roman Military Romano British. ? What about the uplands of Wales? tell you what... just to through another thought into the ring. - Do 'we' actually become more RB after Roman withdrawal?

Help me! :face-huh:
"Romano-British" is another of those convenient umbrella terms like "Neolithic" that means different things, in different regions, at different times. We Moderns do love our classification, but the nature of culture (sic) is that it moves in fits and starts and doesn't give us the nice smooth transitions into which we keep trying to shoehorn history/prehistory. I think the terms we use and how we apply them, sometimes say more about our mania for categorising things, than they say about the things we're trying to categorise.

As you observe, "Romano-British" in south-eastern England was a completely different beast to "Romano-British" to the north or west. Maybe some areas were actually "Brito-Roman"?

Modern humans are naturally cultural magpies. Facilitating cultural scope-creep is something we've always been good at. Nab the bits of a culture that we like best and forget the bits we don't. I could murder a curry...
Kel Wrote:"Romano-British" is another of those convenient umbrella terms like "Neolithic" that means different things, in different regions, at different times.

....and even in places where the Romans didn't get to!! Here in Norway we have the 'younger Iron Age', the 'Roman Iron Age' (roughly correspondent to the period they occupied the UK) and the 'later Iron Age' which runs right up to the beginning of the Medieval period. Haven't yet heard anyone described as 'Romano-Norse,' but guess the small number of finds of that date in the south of Norway suggest it might be feasible.....
Tricky explaining away all the towns, forts, roads and a damn great wall that seem to have popped up around here for a couple of hundred years before everyone went back to ignoring them....

'Native' seems to be a popular word in reports for describing all the stuff that never really changed at all, like all the nasty hand-made pottery - although of course depending on which specialist you send that to that can be almost any date...I have 3 seperate reports from two different specialists on the same 14 potsherds describing them as Neolithic, Iron Age and Anglian, C14 had to be used to sort it out!. Roundhouses seem to carry on regardless in much of Northern England, its just that the ones with a token sherd of Samian wind up as 'native', the others as 'Iron Age'.

Some pre-Roman traditions seem to take a break then reappear in the 4th century as if they knew civilisation was planning on coming to an end and were getting primed for the Dark Ages - good examples are cist/lined graves and strings of burials along boundaries, which seem to have a resurgence in the 4th-6th centuries
Other terms such as 'Celtic' and 'Dark Ages' spring to mind, too. Is there a 'Celtic' culture in the UK or is it a revisionist attempt at creating a modern cultural identity using terms borrowed from the past? Were the Dark Ages simply Roman church PR? I would imagine that to the natives of the British isles, the exit of the Romans meant that things could go on as before they showed up with their bath houses and underfloor heating.
Quote:Maybe some areas were actually "Brito-Roman"?

I like that. and then what about those nasty people up beyond the Clyde Forth valley... not even British by all account? but they experienced 'Rome' as well, just reacted a bit differently.

What Dino says is one of teh things that triggered me off. as 'after' the Romans left ( or should we say after Rome stopped answering the metaphorical phone) the same sort of tribal divisions, activities and actions (such as the cists) seem to return as if through 300 + years these had been stored away in a nice safe dry cupboard, knowing they would be needed again. So where are the Romans? How deep did the culture truly penetrate? Or was it a veneer, and one that lulls us into a Golden Age. In real terms ' we' were never anything else but who we already were. And how quick it collapses? As fast as the Soviet Union.

So as a cover all term it is useful, but it is so unspecific and both time/location dependant as to be not as useful as we think.

This could indeed be true for any period I suppose. :face-huh:
A possibility;

Romano-British = collaborator > client
Is this what you guys/gals are trying to get your heads around?

"the formation of new identities and inherited culture evolve to become different from those they possessed in the original cultures,"

Then check out the latest brand of conceptual thought. Fresh off the Anthropologists top shelf! CREOLISATION (or creolization). Admittedly, a concept that has evolved for the study of more recent (post-med) societies, but I think the Romanists amongst us might have a lot to learn from it.
As for the general thrust of some of the comments, that it all rebooted to a default 'pre-Roman' condition, well only because the most dominant members of the society at that time enforced that - and so the process of integration and creolisation continues just with a new set of masters. As to how the post-Roman survivors of the 5th century were able to redesign their society/values etc to mid first century defaults I just do not know. Oral history allows the survival of some cultural values (and baggage) but not everything - and even an 'underground' movement would morph into something very new and different over 400 years.
i think revisionism is much underated as a way of seeing a lot of what dino alludes to. people may well talk about iron age peoples engaging with roman culture but calling any of them roman is unhelpful. and just because ones political masters have decreed 'you are Roman' it surely does not follow that the people paid it any more than lip service - unless it suited them to. time for a revision of the nomenclature?
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