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Title: The transformation of urban waterscapes: Documenting waterscape manipulation as an aspect of urban development in the Roman period
Authors: Rogers, Adam
First Published: 2012
Publisher: Société pour le Progrès des Études Philologiques et Historiques
Citation: Revue Belge de Philologie et de Histoire, 2012, 90 (1), pp. 165-190
Abstract: There have now been a number of important studies of wetland exploitation and transformation in Roman Western Europe. This process of landscape change further intensified in post-Roman times resulting in a very different landscape to that which existed in prehistory and the Roman periods. Landscape archaeology has demonstrated, for example, that in Roman Britain coastal wetlands were drained and the land reclaimed for agricultural purposes. Other wetlands such as the East Anglian Fenland, the largest wetland in Britain before modern drainage, were used partly for agriculture and partly as pasture for keeping cattle. Urban development in Western Europe, however, also resulted in considerable changes to the landscape including wetlands and other interconnected components of waterscapes including rivers and lakes. There has conventionally been an academic divide between the archaeological methodologies and interpretations of landscape archaeology (focusing on the countryside) and urban archaeology. Drawing on research undertaken as part of a larger project examining the relationship between Roman urban spaces and waterscapes, this paper will complement the important work of landscape archaeologists by investigating the theme of wetland change from the urban context. The paper will consider the way in which towns adapted to, controlled, exploited and transformed the landscapes in which they were situated paying particular attention to water. It will examine evidence of the drainage of wetlands, the reclamation of land and the redirection of rivers for the purposes of developing and expanding the towns. Rivers were also increasingly controlled through timber revetments, embankments and wharfs, representing growing command of the landscape.
ISSN: 0035-0818
Embargo on file until: 1-Jan-10000
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Embargoed pending clarification of rights with publisher
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Archaeology and Ancient History

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