So I am having a lovely time at the RAC/TRAC conference here at the University of Reading. The interesting anagram stands for the Roman Archaeology Conference and the Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference. It is effectively two conferences, with different histories, merged together into one large conference with almost 400 delegates.
As an Anglo-Saxonist who studies the immediately post-Roman period, c. AD 410 onwards, it is quite interesting to be completely submerged in Roman archaeology for a few days. The different approaches and orthodoxies have already given me some new ideas to approach my own period, and it is also nice to just be able to learn something new.
Dr Fraser Hunter gave a fascinating plenary lecture on the Traprain Treasure; a collection of Late Roman silver objects found beyond Hadrian’s Wall in East Lothian, Scotland. He made some very interesting points on the subject of how it got there, and the economic systems still in place between Romans and non-Romans in the tail-end of the empire. Dr Naomi Sykes’s intriguing paper yesterday brought together recent genetic and isotopic research on the spread of fallow deer throughout the Western Roman Empire and the role of these animals as elite status symbols.
What I am particularly looking forward to is this afternoon’s session on Romans and Barbarians beyond the Northern Frontiers. Hanging out with the Romans is nice, but I’m much more comfortable being a barbarian…
Picture credit: The Arch of Septimus Severus in Rome, courtesy of http://www.trac.org.uk.