Last year a RAC session Roman Diasporas – Archaeological Approaches to Mobility and Diversity in the Roman Empire looked at identification of individual migrants and diasporas in archaeological contexts, largely from the perspective offered by Roman Britain and Italy.
Our session will expand the discussion by looking for evidence for communities of migrants outside these well-known examples, in other Roman provinces on the fringes of the Roman Empire. It will debate the extent to which the ethnic or cultural markers, or the processes and dynamics experienced as an effect of cultural interaction by the groups and individuals of the Diaspora can be identified archaeologically, and the relative value of theoretical frameworks (such as identity stress; cultural conformism or resistance; ethnoscapes, etc) to furthering our understanding of Roman society. Particularly welcome are papers that examine comparatively the interpretations from two or more types of evidence (e.g. combining pottery analysis or small finds and historical data – in memory of late Vivian Swan) or explore a wide range of methods which can be used to look for migrants or even diaspora communities: epigraphical or linguistic, historical or archaeological.
Overall this session attempts to highlight once more the significance of the study of communities of migrants in the Roman Empire and to break down existing division in the studies of migrants in the Roman Empire between epigraphical and archaeological research. The goal is to allow for a more open session which as a result, we believe, would give a more balanced and geographically wider view.