Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Roman Culture in Etrurian and Campanian Archaeology

From Roman Culture in Etrurian and Campanian Archaeology « GraecoMuse.

Roman culture
Roman culture is detectable archaeologically throughout Etruria and Campania in the cities and landscapes of the regions.  We still see Roman roads in use today! But what can these and other archaeological evidence tell us about the Romans expansion throughout Italy? Frankly, way too much to cover in one article, so let us look briefly at an area of really interesting archaeology, Etruria and Campania in what is now Modern Italy.
Several ground surveys, such as that done by Ward-Perkins in the early 1950s, have established many of these road networks as adaptations of existing roadways, serving the needs of a highly decentralised population.[6]  The colony of Nepi was quickly connected with Rome by means of the Via Amerina, establishing not just a colonial but a physical link to Roman influence.[7]  When assessed in terms of the location of these valuable archaeological features, [8]  we can also see which Etruscan towns were likely  to have suffered Roman influence on a lesser scale, for instance, Veii which was left to the backwater after its initial destruction and restructure.[9] Or alternatively where the Roman culture was more prevalent where towns were joined to the road system, such as Volsini.With the development of modern survey techniques the introduction and distribution of Roman road systems, throughout the landscape of Etruria and Campania, illustrates the expansion of Roman culture within this landscape.
The road systems acted as a stamp of Roman authority and new order in the locality and their distribution maps out the movement and expansion of Roman influence and culture.[1] These Roman highways often left a clear cutting which can still be seen near to modern roads in many places throughout Italy.[2]  Basaltic paving blocks are also frequently uncovered by modern excavations, and accidently, and are indicative of a Roman road being situated nearby.[3]  The Via Amerina has been noted as the earliest of these archaeological features, dating to approximately 241BC and is detectably archaeologically cutting through the Faliscan territory and into southern Umbria.[4]  The Via Amerina was later joined by other roads cutting through the landscape such as the Via Flaminia and the Via Aurelia, constructed in 220BC and c.144BC respectively.[5]  Each of these serving new colonies and often bypassing old Etruscan towns providing a map of the pathways Roman culture followed into Etruria and Campania in the late centuries BC.
The area has been subject to various field surveys over the years which have a primary basis in exploring the changing pottery tradition, illustrating the rise of Roman wares in the region as the culture fanned out of Rome.[10]  And despite the difficulties in dating, the information gathered from ceramics can show changes in occupation, and maps of pottery distribution can give consistent patterns illustrating cultural variations.[11]  Ward-Perkins’ ground survey of around 2000 archaeological sites in Campania has allowed for analysis on the changing tradition from pre-Roman Etruscan wares and bucchero[12] to Roman black-glazed wares, indicative of the third to first centuries BC.[13]
The change of abundance of different pottery types throughout Etruria and Campania are indicative of the expansion and distribution of Roman influence and culture.  It has been used in recent years to illustrate occupational patterns even though the common black glazed ware has been subject to dating issues.[14]  This expansion and change of occupation is seen fanning out from Rome to a vast number of sites such as Roselle, in the territory of Volsinii, where an abundance of black-glazed pottery was uncovered dating to the Roman conquest and Late Etruscan Period.  Veii has also been subject to field walking and this archaeological technique has brought to light a considerable amount of black glazed ware and late almond rim ceramic indicative of the links with Roman culture and its expansion with the conquest of Italy.[15]
Survey work and archaeological exploration has uncovered that colonization was a significant part of the expansion of Roman power and influence in that it secured a rational exploitation of resources.[19]  The Latin colony of Cosa is a prime example of a site in Etruria which contains a complex body of material evidence illustrating the expansion and implementation of Roman culture away from Rome.[20]  Archaeological excavations have determined that Cosa was built almost entirely on a purely Roman foundation.[21]  Cosa has been assessed by archaeologists as beingmutatis mutandis, made in the image of Rome.[22]Numismatic evidence provides an excellent point by which the introduction of Roman culture can be dated as coinage allows exact dates to be given and the earliest of these dates can be used to some degree to determine the earliest movement into the area.  Coin hoards found throughout Etruria and Campania such as at Cosa where 2004 Roman Denarii among other numismatic assemblages.[17]  The mint at Cosa also indicates thatRoman coinage styles were adopted by the population of Cosa itself rather than just being imported.[18]
While there has been some debate that archaeologists and scholars may be pushing the image of Rome on these colonies, there is still a vast number of similarities that display the expansion of Roman culture.
The immigrants to colonies were Latin speakers and the towns they populated were fashioned to reflect their own expectations.  Not only was the layout often fashioned with links to that of Rome, but many of the buildings and architecture is seen to have reflected Rome’s.  The temple of Concordia at Cosa, identified by the inscription ‘Concordiae’, displays the expansion of this.[23]  Buildings such as the Comitium excavated at Cosa also display links and similarities to the Comitium at Rome, and it is almost identical to those at Paestum, Fregallae and Alba Fucens as well.[24]
Sites at Campania also show this link to Rome, and the relative dates of material and architectural features within these sites allow us to map over time the expansion of Roman culture throughout both Campania and Etruria.  The most significant and well known of these examples in Campania is Pompeii.  Unlike the example of Cosa, this site represents a number of towns that had Roman culture thrust upon an already established urban site.  Pompeii was colonised by the Romans c.80BC leading to major work upon the city’s public architecture.[25]  The archaeology of Pompeii includes a covered theatre and an amphitheatre dedicated by C.Quinctius Valgus and M.Porcius.[26]  The expansion of Roman culture is also detectable in the use of materials such as yellow turf from the Campi Phlegraei and baked terracotta at Pompeii and techniques such as opus reticulatun.[27]  Architectural features such as the vaulted ceilings of the first century BC among other examples are also indicative of the expanding contribution of Roman architecture.[28]
Wallace-Hadrill and Fulford following their excavations of Insula I,9 in Pompeii and the House of Menander have explicitly questioned the use of materials to date architectural features, and the limitations of stone and architectural typologies.[29]While debates rise on the usefulness of materials to establish dates of certain features and their inclusion over time into settlement and building structure, they remain a means to detect the incorporation of Roman culture and styles into sites.[30] The use of stratigraphy, can be used to make up for the limitations of typological analysis to display the movement of Roman culture into an area over time, such as the policy of stratigraphical policy and exploration developed by Maiuri at Pompeii surrounding the excavation of the House of the Surgeon.[31]
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J.I 2012influence with colonization and trade.

[1] Potter, T.W., Towns and Territories in Southern Etruria in Rich, J., and Wallace-Hadrill, A., City and Country in the Ancient World (London), p.199 – Roman roads were essential to the expansion of the empire.  Through them archaeologists can track the movement of Roman influence.  Way stations, mile stones and other material evidence also provide archaeological indicators by which to track the expansion.
[2] Hemphill, P., An Archaeological Survey of Southern Etruria (1970), p.35
[4] Barker, G. and Rasmussen, T., The Etruscans (Oxford, 2000), p.267
[6] Blake, H., Potter, T.W., and Whitehouse, D.B., Papers in Italian Archaeology I: The Lancaster Seminar, Recent Research in Prehistoric, Classical and Medieval Archaeology Part I (1978), p.99 & 107
[7] Potter, op.cit., p.197
[8] Barker, G. and Rasmussen, T., op.cit., p.267 – These roads also served to suit Roman needs such as military movements into Etruria and beyond, and are important to the archaeological record as conveying the expansion of Roman culture through such mediums as the movements of the army and the connection of new colonies to Rome itself.
[10] Barker, G. and Rasmussen, T.,op.cit., p.269
[11] Hemhill, op.cit., p.36
[12][12] Bucchero is a grey to black fabric with a burnished finish and appears in small quantities through sites of the Etruscan period.
[13] Blake, H., Potter, T.W., and Whitehouse, D.B., op.cit., p.102
[14] Hemhill, op.cit., p.35
[15] Barker, G. and Rasmussen, T.,op.cit., p.275 – Veii offers a typical example of the development of an Italic settlements probably the most famous of towns in Southern Etruria. See Owens, E.J., The City in the Greek and Roman World, pp.97-120
[17] Buttrey, T.V., Cosa: The Coins, in Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, Vol.34 (1980), p.5
[19] Torelli, M., Tota Italia – Essays in the Cultural Formation of Roman Italy(Oxford, 1999), p.3
[20] Cosa – is a Latin colony situated in modern Tuscany.  It was perhaps confiscated land from the Etruscans but archaeology points more towards it being a new colony.
[21] Brown in Fentress, E., Romanization and the City: Creation, Transformations and Failures (1998), p.11
[23] Brown in Fentress, E., op.cit., p.20
[24] Ibid., p.22 – The Comitium is recognised as a centre of judicial and political activities in a Roman Forum.  The placement of this type of building in colonies indicates a movement of the Roman culture to sites around Italy, namely in Etruria and Campania.
[25] Ling, R., Pompeii – History, Life and Afterlife (Gloucestershire, 2007), p.53
[29] Jones, R., and Robinson, D., The Making of an Elite House: The House of the Vestals at Pompeii in Journal of Roman Archaeology, Vol.17 (2004), p.107
[30] This can be asserted, even though a temporal record of incorporation can not fully be established by means of typologies.
[32] Barker, G. and Rasmussen, T., op.cit., p.292
[33] Jones, R., and Robinson, D., Water, Wealth and Social Status at Pompeii: The House of the Vestals in the First Century in American Journal of Archaeology, Vol.109 (2005), p.696
[35] Terrenato, N., Tam Firmum Municipium: The Romanization of Volaterrae and Its Cultural Implications, in The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol.88 (1998), p.105
[36] Ibid., p.105 – Volaterrae was an important Etruscan centre which became a municipium after the Roman conquest.  This information comes from the results of a field survey providing major additions to a subject previously vague launched in 1987, calling for a radical rethinking of local history. Involving a large scattering of material evidence of funerary culture and settlement culture.  Often in contrast to more southerly surveys in Etruria which are known to be used to represent the region as a whole.  Saying this, the surveys surrounding Volaterrae still provide essential indication of the latinisation of Etruscan metropolises.
[37] Fentress, op.cit., p.23 – the Capitoline hill was the arx of Cosa and received a vast amount of attention by Frank.E.Brown
[38] Fentress, op.cit., p.23
[40] Terranato, op.cit., p.102 – South Etruria Survey plus numerous others between 1960 and the present day
[42] Barker, G. and Rasmussen, T., op.cit., p.269
[43] Fentress, op.cit., p.12 – work of Frank Brown published in Fentress
[45] Barker, G. and Rasmussen, T., op.cit., p.270
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