3. The Data

I have undertaken the task of analysing artefact distribution patterns within 1st- and 2nd-century Roman military bases to investigate what information they might provide about the communities that lived inside these military bases and whether these communities might include women and families who seem not to have been part of officers' households. One of my main problems has been obtaining suitable data to analyse. Most Roman archaeologists with digitised data are still collecting or using these data, and so they are not in a form that is readily usable for the type of analyses I would like to carry out. However, there is a strong tradition in Germany of detailed and comprehensive publication of the data from the excavations of Roman period sites. So I have analysed a number of published excavation reports for sites from the Roman provinces in Germany that seem best suited to my purposes. My criteria are essentially: that the military bases had a short occupancy and rapid, or relatively rapid, abandonment, such that there is a certain amount of integrity in their artefact assemblages; that the excavation reports have good site maps and plans, showing excavated areas clearly; and that these reports have relatively comprehensive artefact catalogues with provenance information.

Figure 1
Figure 1: Map of Germany showing sites analysed in the 'Engendering Roman Spaces' project.

The four main sites that I have analysed are, in chronological order: the double legionary fortress of Vetera I, near the town of Xanten in the Lower Rhine region; the legionary fortress and cohort fort at Rottweil on the Neckar River (a major right tributary of the Upper Rhine); the auxiliary fort at Oberstimm in the Upper Danube Region; and the auxiliary fort at Ellingen, also in the Upper Danube Region (Figure 1). As a comparison for the quality of the data from these sites I have also analysed the artefact distribution patterns of the early 2nd-century auxiliary fort at Hesselbach (see Baatz 1973) which was not rapidly abandoned and suffered from erosion. It therefore serves as a control for the nature and quality of the data at the other four sites.


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Last updated: Mon Jun 30 2008