Explore themes from Roman Britain with Dr Peter Guest in the February archaeology study sessions.

Over three weeks we will examine the Roman conquest of western Britain; how Roman ideas about the burial of the dead became increasingly popular; and why there are so many ‘treasure’ hoards from the end of Roman Britain.

Britain was part of the Roman Empire for over 350 years. The history and archaeology of this period paints a fascinating picture of how Britons became increasingly Roman over time.

The legacy of ancient Rome is around us every day, from the money we use, to how we speak and what we say, the roads we travel along, and the places we live in. This Archaeology Study session will explore three key themes in Romano-British studies: the army and conquest, death and burial in Roman Britain, and the End of Roman Britain.

About this course

This course is led by Dr Peter Guest. Sessions will take place via Zoom on Mondays on the following dates at 7.30pm (GMT):

  • 7 February – Themes from Roman Britain: the army and conquest
  • 14 February – Themes from Roman Britain: death and burial in Roman Britain
  • 28 February- Themes from Roman Britain: the end of Roman Britain

Numbers are limited to allow participants to ask questions and discuss the topics covered. Lectures will be recorded and made available for those not able to attend every session. A reading list and further information will also be provided as part of the course.

Session breakdown

Themes from Roman Britain: the army and conquest
The first session will look at the historical and archaeological evidence for the conquest of western Britain in the first century AD, focusing on the long bitter war the Romans fought against the Celtic tribes in what is now Wales. We will follow the efforts of Roman governors to hunt down the British leader Caratacus and how they constructed a network of military bases to deal with the restive natives.

Themes from Roman Britain: death and burial in Roman Britain
The second session is an examination of the archaeological evidence for death and burial in Roman Britain, looking at how characteristically Roman ideas and funerary practices were adopted after the conquest  – including cemeteries outside settlements, how (and possibly why) inhumation replaced cremation as the favoured burial rite, to tombstones and the commemoration of the dead.

Themes from Roman Britain: the end of Roman Britain
The End of Roman Britain in the early fifth century is the topic of the third and final session. We will look at some of the spectacular hoards of gold and silver objects unearthed in Britain – such as the Mildenhall, Hoxne and Water Newton treasures. Why Britain produces so many of these valuable finds is a question whose answer lies in the unique circumstances of Britain’s separation from Rome c. 410, a murky but remarkable episode in British history.

Dr Peter  Guest

Dr Peter Guest

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