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Faculty of Classics

 

Faculty statement concerning ethnic diversity in Roman Britain

Roman Britain has long been an important part of the teaching and research in the Faculty of Classics. The question of ethnic diversity in the province has been getting unusual amounts of attention recently. Professor Mary Beard has been at the centre of some of this attention. In the Faculty we welcome and encourage public interest in, and reasoned debate about, the ancient world, such as Professor Beard has always sought to encourage. The evidence is in fact overwhelming that Roman Britain was indeed a multi-ethnic society. This was not, of course, evenly spread through the province, and it would have been infinitely more noticeable — it can be assumed — in an urban or military context than in a rural one. There are, however, still significant gaps in our understanding. New scientific evidence (including but not limited to genetic data) offers exciting ways forward, but it needs to be interpreted carefully.

We do hope participants in the public discussion and others will want to learn more about this subject. You may wish to consult:

H. Eckardt (ed.) 2010. Roman Diasporas: Archaeological Approaches to Mobility and Diversity in the Roman Empire. Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplement 78.

H. Eckardt and G. Mundler 2016. ‘Mobility, Migration and Diasporas in Roman 

Britain’, in M. Millett, L. Revell and A. Moore (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Roman Britain. Oxford: 203-23.

http://www.caitlingreen.org/2016/05/a-note-on-evidence-for-african-migrants.html?m=1

http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/the-forum/2017/07/28/how-diverse-was-roman-britain

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