Chorography: An Evaluation of Theory and Practice Past and Present – Darrell J. Rohl (Durham)

Chorography is a field of theory and practice concerned with the significance of place, regional description and characterisation, local history, and representation. A well-established discipline and methodology with demonstrable roots in classical antiquity and an important role in the development of antiquarian research, regional studies and the establishment of modern Archaeology, Chorography is useful for understanding the history of scholarship and may continue to provide sound theoretical principles and practical methods for archaeological research. This paper discusses the historical uses of Chorography, beginning with practictioners from classical antiquity but emphasising the uniquely British chorographic tradition of the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries. Attention is also given to more recent efforts at exploring this tradition by historiographers and archaeological theorists. What are the theoretical bases and implications ofChorography? How have these theories been applied in the past? What would a modern Chorography look like, and how would it relate to contemporary Landscape Archaeology? These questions are evaluated from a theoretical and practical perspective, emphasising issues related to current issues in Roman Archaeology. It is suggested that Chorography remains a viable and valuable means of evaluating the long-term significance of monuments and regions. The paper concludes with specific examples of new chorographical research centred on Roman frontier monuments in the north of Britain.

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