In this book, Adam Rogers examines the late Roman phases of towns in Britain. Critically analysing the archaeological notion of decline, he focuses on public buildings, which played an important role, administrative and symbolic, within urban complexes. Arguing against the interpretation that many of these monumental civic buildings were in decline or abandoned in the later Roman period, he demonstrates that they remained purposeful spaces and important centres of urban life. Through a detailed assessment of the archaeology of late Roman towns, this book argues that the archaeological framework of decline does not permit an adequate and comprehensive understanding of the towns during this period. Moving beyond the idea of decline, this book emphasises a longer-term perspective for understanding the importance of towns in the later Roman period.
Adam Rogers is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester. He has published articles on the archaeology of the Roman and Late Iron Age periods, especially in the areas of settlement and landscape studies, religion and ritual, and historiography.
1. Introduction; 2. Edward Gibbon - growth, the Golden Age and decline and fall; 3. Approaches to Roman urbanism and studying the late Roman town; 4. Establishing the urban context: pre-Roman place and Roman urbanism; 5. The structures of the public buildings in the later Roman period: framing place and space; 6. New public structures within towns in the later Roman period; 7. Industrial activity within public buildings; 8. Timber buildings and 'squatter occupation' within public buildings; 9. Conclusions - senses of place: rethinking urbanism in Roman Britain.