Measuring Women's Influence on Roman Military Life: using GIS on published excavation reports from the German frontier

Penelope Allison

School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, United Kingdom Email:


Oberstimm, distribution of gendered activities, according to activity.

This article outlines the approaches used in the Australian Research Council funded project, 'Engendering Roman Spaces', and summarises some of the results. The project investigates the distribution of artefacts and artefact assemblages and the presence, activities and status of women and children within Roman military forts. It uses data from published excavation reports of 1st- and 2nd-century AD Roman military sites on the German frontier. It includes excavation reports from throughout the 20th century, which have varying levels of comprehensiveness.

The relevant data from these excavation reports are digitised and manipulated, through a series of software packages, and then classified according to gender and function, so that spatial distribution patterns of people's activities can be visualised and analysed using GIS. Interpretations of these data are indicating that women played a greater role in military life in the early Roman Empire than has previously been acknowledged.

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Last updated: Mon 30 June 2008