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Title: (De-)Constructing Memories of Roman:‘Barbarian’ Interaction in North-Western Europe: ‘Myths’ and Academic Discourse in Dutch Archaeological Interpretation
Authors: Gonzalez Sanchez, Sergio
Supervisors: James, Simon
Merrills, Andrew
Award date: 6-Jun-2016
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: This thesis critically analyses the ways in which The Netherlands, both as a nation and as an academic community, has understood and represented its origins in the Roman era (50 BC - AD 250) since the advent of its statehood in the 16th century. This involves the contextual analysis of a rich but understudied set of Dutch archaeological discourses developed in the post-WWII era (1945-2014) regarding early episodes of Roman:‘barbarian’ interaction around the lower Rhine limes (roughly corresponding with modern-day The Netherlands). Key research questions comprise: What are the origin and nature of Dutch archaeological discourses on this topic? How does archaeological discourse influence and is influenced by the development and formulation of historical myths and national identities? In what way do multiple contextual factors inform the formulation of such discourse? This study focuses on the works of two major Dutch archaeologists — Willem Willems and Nico Roymans — who have shaped the discipline in the last four decades. It is supported by a series of interviews conducted with native scholars, which provide invaluable insights into the role of personal context in the development of academic discourses and the sociology of Dutch academia, and gives them their own voice. These developments are then compared with wider theoretical approaches and, more specifically, with British post-colonial discourses on the topic of Roman:‘barbarian’ interactions and Roman imperialism. My conclusions are that archaeological discourse in The Netherlands is not derivative of those imported from other major European academic traditions (notably Germany and the UK), or exclusively the result of inherited historical discourse; rather, the evolution of the Dutch academic community itself and the different discourses created within is deeply influenced by a web of interconnected contextual factors at different levels — personal, local, regional, national, international — and spheres, whether cultural, social, political, or intellectual. These multiple contextual factors informing both the choice of theoretical frameworks and the formulation of discourse explain the nuances in discourse between scholars and the unique evolution of Roman archaeology in The Netherlands.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Leicester Theses
Theses, School of Archaeology and Ancient History

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