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Title: Artefact distribution within the auxiliary fort at Ellingen : Evidence for building use and for the presence of women and children
Authors: Allison, Penelope M.
First Published: 2006
Publisher: Verlag Philipp von Zabern GmbH
Citation: Bericht der Romisch-Germanischen Kommission, 2006, 87, pp. 389-452
Abstract: The first important observation in this study is that the distribution of various types of artefacts is not consistent across the site and does not mirror exactly the distributions of the ceramics. The observed differences in distribution of the gender categories are that potentially female-or child-related items are found predominantly in Building C, and associated with Buildings B and possibly Building F, and conceivably with the building in Area H. They show little or no association with Buildings A, D, or E or with any buildings in Area G. The evidence for female-related items in the deposits in Wells 1 and 4, and in Shaft 6, is significant (Fig. 42), as is the evidence for perinatal skeletal remains, in Areas G and H, in Well 4, in Building B and to the south east of this building, some possibly burials (Fig. 12). Otherwise it might be possible to argue from the concentration of female-related items in Building C that all such items were in material redeposited from outside the fort. The remains from Building C not associated with any re-deposition indicate that women resided here, at least after 182 A.D. As discussed above, there is little substantial evidence that this fort was functioning much after the beginning of the 3 century. This dating, and women's apparent presence in early occupation phases of the fort, implies that these resident families were not the result of Septimius Severus' lifting of the marriage ban at the end of the 2 century. Even if this material could all be dated after 193 A. D., these families were certainly not housed outside the fort walls. That artefacts potentially associated with women and children constitute a very small percentage of the overall assemblage of this fort might be used to argue that this evidence is inadequate and unreliable. However, given our limited knowledge of gender-segregation of activities in the peripheries of the Roman world - much of which is based on either modern analogical inference or the biases of certain Roman authors - one should not expect to find large quantities of artefacts that can easily be gendered. Indeed, as van Driel Murray pointed out, it is equally difficult to trace definitive male presence within such communities through the gendering of artefacts which is also not reliant on such analogies or biases. This study makes some tentative suggestions for the presence and activities of women within a 2 -century auxiliary fort which will hopefully have ramifications for the future study of other forts with comparable material. It is perhaps noteworthy that a relatively high percentage of potentially female-related artefacts from this fort were catalogued as stray finds. It is conceivable that publications of past excavations of other sites show few female-related items because such artefacts have frequently been considered 'out of place' and so have not been fully discussed in the relevant publications. This study highlights the importance of careful and accurate recording of all finds from military, or indeed any settlement, contexts. It also demonstrates how GIS-technology is not only useful for landscape archaeology or the recording of current excavations. Old excavations and old excavation reports can also be re-analysed using such technologies and can provide new and interesting interpretations.
ISSN: 0341-9312
Type: Journal Article
Description: Full text of this item is not currently available on the LRA. The final published version may be available through the links above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Archaeology and Ancient History

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