1. Roman imperialism I

1. Roman imperialism and early frontier formation. The creation-reshuffling of tribal (id)entities
Wednesday, 24 August 2022, Lindenbergzaal

Session Chairs: Nico Roymans, Manuel Fernàndez-Götz & Erik Graafstal
Affiliation: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Affiliation of co-organiser: University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Affiliation second co-organiser: city of Utrecht, the Netherlands

Session Abstract: In the past decade Roman archaeology has experienced a growing interest in the study of Rome’s military expansion in the tribal frontiers of West- and Central Europe. Examples are the recent hausse in the research of Caesar’s Gallic Wars and of the Augustan campaigns in Northern Spain and Germania. The result is a rapidly growing archaeological dataset which can be used to contextualize and re-assess the historical sources. We also observe a growing interest in the often extremely violent and predatory nature of Roman expansion in the tribal frontiers and in its short-term effects on the indigenous populations.

This latter theme touches on the central aim of this session. We want to focus attention on the social and ethnic dynamics in the tribal frontiers during and directly after the conquest period. Historical sources point to a profound rearrangement of tribal maps and an intense restructuring of local power networks. Among the instruments used by imperial agents are large-scale land expropriation, forced deportation of groups, mass enslavement, genocide, land allocations to pro-Roman groups, and profound interference in intra- and intertribal power relations. The short-term effects of conquest were often highly disruptive, but at the same time the controlled settlement of ‘friendly’ groups and the newly created clientship ties with pro-Roman leaders led to the formation of new tribal (id)entities which often formed the basis towards a formal administrative integration. Potential subjects for this session are:

  • Short-term demographic effects of the Roman conquest.
  • Studies of group migration in Roman frontiers, thereby using material culture and/or isotopic data.
  • Comparative analysis of historical and archaeological data on group migration in tribal frontiers.
  • Imperial agency and the genesis of new tribal polities and identity groups in the early post-conquest period.
Time Presenter (s) Presentation
9.00 Johann Schrempp Making Suebi – Roman frontier management in the southern Upper Rhine valley in the 1st c. AD?
9.20 Arno Braun Westward! Population dynamics along the Middle and Upper Rhine during the 1st century BC
9.40 Marion Brüggler The case of the Cugerni on the Lower Rhine
10.00 Erik Graafstal Settlers from the North? A late-Augustan Landnahme in the Utrecht region
 

 

COFFEE BREAK
10.50 Jasper de Bruin Agros vacuos. De- and repopulation of the Dutch coastal area c. 50 BC – AD 100
11.10 Nico Roymans Ethnic recruitment and the genesis of the Batavi as a soldiering people. The numismatic evidence
11.30 Julie Van Kerckhove Evidence for immigration in the Batavian region in the pre-Claudian Era. The study of large handmade pottery assemblages using a combination of traditional and science-based techniques
11.50 Manuel Fernández-Götz Changing landscapes in the northern frontier: Contrasting settlement patterns north and south of Hadrian’s wall
 

 

LUNCH BREAK
13.30 Andrew Lawrence Exploring Power and Domination in Rome’s northernmost frontier zone
13.50 João Fonte New data on the Roman military presence in the Gerês-Xurés Transboundary Biosphere Reserve and its impact on local landscapes and communities
14.10 Jose Manuel Costa-Garcia The siege of Cerro Castarreño: reassessing the Roman indigenous dynamics between the River Douro valley and the Cantabrian Mountains (Spain) during the 1st c. BC
14.30 Michel Reddé Le développement d’une zone frontière en milieu désertique : l’exemple de la Tripolitaine
 

 

COFFEE BREAK
15.20 Karl Strobel Republican Imperialism on the Balkan: ancient strategies versus modern misunderstanding?
15.40 Timothy Hart Getae, Moesi, and Scythians: Ethnographic (re)configurations in Rome’s early lower Danube borderland
16.10 Bernd Steidl Indigenous and exogenous population groups in the Alpine foothills and the organisation of the province of Raetia et Vindelicia during the 1st century AD
16.30 Damjan Donec The Enemy Within? Military forts behind the Danube frontier
16.50 Dragos Mandescu Before the Romans, their coins came. Hoards of Roman coins of Augustan Period in Late Iron Age South-Carpathian Dacia
17.10 Szilvia Bíró From “deserta Boiorum” to “civitas Boiorum”
17.30  

Making Suebi – Roman frontier management in the southern Upper Rhine valley in the 1st c. AD?
Johann Schrempp, Archäologisches Landesmuseum Baden-Württemberg, Zentrales Fundarchiv Rastatt, Alexander Heising, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, IAW, Abt. Provinzialrömische Archäologie, Lars Blöck, Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rhein-Land-Pfalz, Direktion Landesarchäologie, Außenstelle Trier, Uwe Müller, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg i. Br., IAW, Abt. Provinzialrömische Archäologie

Der Rhein bildete seit der Eroberung Galliens durch Caesar bis in das ausgehende 1. Jh. n. Chr. die Grenze des Imperium Romanum. Am östlichen Oberrhein sind bisher nur wenige Siedlungs- und Bestattungsplätze einer vorrömischer Bevölkerungsgruppen bekannt, die in der Forschung als Oberrheingermanen bezeichnet werden. Die Selbstbezeichnung „Suebi“ ist epigraphisch belegt. Charakteristisch sind Brandgräber mit reichhaltigem römischem Import, Waffenbeigaben und materielle Bezüge in den elbgermanischen Kulturraum. Südlichster Fundpunkt ist das in den 1930er Jahren entdeckte Gräberfeld von Diersheim gegenüber von Strasbourg. Zwischen 2015 und 2020 konnte in einer Kooperation der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg und dem Landesamt für Denkmalpflege ein zweites, weitaus älteres Brandgräberfeld vollständig ausgegraben werden. Trotz fortschreitender Zerstörung hatten sich 53 Bestattungen erhalten. Die ältesten Gräber datieren aus tiberisch-claudischer Zeitspanne, die jüngsten gehören dem beginnenden 2. Jh. an. Auffallend sind die zahlreichen Beigaben von bis zur Unkenntlichkeit zerhacken und geschmolzenen römischen Bronzegefäßen, vornehmlich Kelle-Sieb-Garnituren und Eimer, ferner Beschläge und Aufhängungen von Trinkhörnern. Die Beigabe von intentionell zerstörten Waffen wie Spatha oder Lanzenspitzen scheint erst ab der Mitte des 1. Jh. aufzukommen. Durch die Ausgrabungen in Diersheim gelang – erstmals unabhängig von der materiellen Kultur – ein wichtiger Nachweis für die Herkunft der sog. Oberrheingermanen: Bei einigen Gräbern fanden sich zwischen sowie auf dem Leichenbrand in der Urne Tropfen von geschmolzenem, schwarzem Pech – ein Ritus, wie er im weit gefassten elbgermanischen Kulturraum zwischen Ostsee und dem böhmischen Becken bekannt ist. Die Ansiedlung germanischer Gruppen am Oberrhein resultiert womöglich aus der Reorganisation der Grenze des Imperiums durch Kaiser Tiberius. Verlässliche Partner Roms, die offenbar unter Waffen standen und in Stämmen organisiert waren, sollten das vormalig kaum besiedelte Gebiet des heutigen Südwestdeutschlands im Vorfeld der Reichsgrenze offen halten und kontrollieren; der Bezug zum Legionslager Strasbourg/Argentorate ist offensichtlich. Der Neufund einer Grabinschrift eines hochrangigen Anführers (pinceps) der Sueben aus dem unweit gelegenen Offenburg bestätigt diese Annahme und liefert zudem neue Erkenntnisse zur Organisation der rechtsrheinischen Gebiete vor Ihrer Eingliederung in das Imperium und der Verwaltung der jungen Provinz Germania Superior.

Westward! Population dynamics along the Middle and Upper Rhine during the 1st century BC
Arno Braun, Sabine Hornung, Universität des Saarlandes

Mobility and migration of “Germanic” tribes along the Rhine river are mentioned by Iulius Caesar in his comments on the Gallic Wars on several occasions, mostly to invoke a threat to Roman interests and to politically justify further military interventions. From an archaeological perspective evidence had long been sparse, to say the least, in particular with respect to the Middle and Upper Rhine where an economic decline during the Late Iron Age, from about 80/70 BC, had led to processes of decentralization and a marked cultural persistence. Only recently have rescue excavations provided us with evidence that points towards the arrival of new groups from the eastern Late La Téne-sphere in the mountains right of the Rhine around 70/60 BC. It is these foreigners, the Caesarian army must have encountered on the Greifenberg in Limburg / Lahn when crossing the Rhine in 55 BC. Furthermore, their presence on the right bank of the river seems to have been only a first step in their movement towards Gaul. Not only is there evidence for more wide-scale emigrations, with groups crossing the Rhine in LT D2, these foreigners must also have played a key-role in the formation of new identities there. Latest research on the initial phase of settlement at the later Roman vicus of Eisenberg / Palatinate has revealed material culture strongly influenced by the eastern Late La Tène culture as well as the transfer of technological knowledge. The establishment of new economic structures in this area, which had been only sparsely populated for some three or four decades and thus supplied ample ground for the reshuffling of Late Iron Age groups, later became an important resource in the preparation of the Augustan campaigns, too.

The case of the Cugerni on the Lower Rhine
Marion Brüggler, LVR-State Service for the Archaeological Heritage in the Rhineland

Whereas the historical and epigraphical sources concerning the Batavi are relatively abundant, only a few sources and inscriptions mention their southern neighbours, the Cugerni. The Cugerni are thought to have formed from a large group of Germani (probably Sugambri, also Suebi) that were resettled shortly before the beginning of the Common Era from the eastern bank of the Rhine to the area around the legionary camp at Vetera at modern Xanten. These Germani probably merged with a remaining indigenous population on the left bank of the Lower Rhine and subsequently developed a new identity as Cugerni. As with the Batavians but less in number, recruits were drafted from them: A cohors quingenaria was formed. The contribution will assemble the well-known written sources, but the aim is especially to give an overview of the archaeological evidence of the decades around the beginning of the 1st millennium until the foundation of the Colonia Ulpia Traiana that replaced the civitas of the Cugerni. The research area is the region of the probable settlement of the Cugerni, i.e. Roman Xanten and its hinterland. Older and newer excavation-data will be presented. Also, the information value of the distribution of small finds will be considered. Can we grasp a tribal identity of the Cugerni by way of these sources?

Settlers from the North? A late-Augustan Landnahme in the Utrecht region
Erik Graafstal, Municipality of Utrecht / Museum Hoge WoerdFirst

Over the past two decades, sustained archaeological research in the Utrecht region (central Netherlands) has revealed an early Roman horizon of rural settlement which reaches back to the first decades CE. While several sites are mainly known from fieldwalking and metal detection, a couple of them have been largely or partly excavated, notably at Utrecht-Hogeweide. The latter site has produced a large assemblage of handmade pottery which appears to have come straight from the northern terp area, whether physically or by tradition. Equally unusual is the use of cattle dung as fuel – a distinctly northern tradition, as are the ‘wall ditch’ structures found at this site. Apart from a range of militaria, the site has produced several other indications for close links with the Roman military system. ‘Chaucian’ pottery and militaria are also seen at other early Roman sites in the Utrecht region. For several sites, dating evidence (coins and dendrochronology) suggests a start date around AD 5/15. It is difficult to imagine that all of this settlement activity could have taken place without Roman consent, given the proximity of the newly established base in the central Rhine delta, Vechten/Fectio. The strong impression left is that we are looking at a Roman-tolerated if not orchestrated Landnahme in the late Augustan period, involving groups i.a. from the northern coastal area, with military service being part of the deal.Session.

Agros vacuos. De- and repopulation of the Dutch coastal area c. 50 BC – AD 100
Jasper de Bruin, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden

There is a striking pattern in the occurrence of empty lands or agros vacuos along the edges of newly conquered Roman territories. This pattern seem to reflect a conscious policy, aiming at the creation of buffer zones between areas under direct Roman military control and areas that were not. These empty areas were not fixed, but shifted in time and space. In this paper, the phenomenon is broadly explored and discussed in more detail for the case of the western Dutch coast. Just before the period around 50 BC, the area was quite densely inhabited. While the habitation to the north of the river Rhine seem to be uninterrupted, radiocarbon datings to the south of this river suggest a rather abrupt end for the settlements. Combined with other evidence, it is conceivable that the disappearance of the habitation is related to the impact of the military operations by Caesar in more southern regions. Around AD 50, new settlements sprout in this area, followed by more sites after AD 70. Strikingly, these settlements all date after the construction of Roman forts along the Rhine river, suggesting that the new inhabitants entered the area under Roman military control. While the areas to the south of the Rhine become the new civitates of the Cananefates and the Frisiavones, the area directly to the north of the Rhine becomes a new empty area, suggesting a (forced?) translocation of people from the north to the south. Material culture from the area and remarks by Tacitus seem to provide additional insights in this process. Like the Batavians, the case of the western Dutch coast seems to be another example of a well-documented allocation of local communities in the early phases of the Roman conquest.

Ethnic recruitment and the genesis of the Batavi as a soldiering people. The numismatic evidence
Nico Roymans, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

I my paper I want to present a case study on the materiality and social impact of mass recruitment among the Batavi by Rome. The treaty-based military exploitation formed the basis for the development of the Batavi as a soldiering people. This raises two key questions for archaeology: 1. What is the material evidence for early military recruitment? 2. When does this recruitment start, and what was its scale? Until now archaeological research has focused on the study of Roman militaria from rural contexts. However, the earliest militaria often cannot be dated more specifically than ‘pre-Flavian’, and therefore do not inform us about the beginnings of ethnic recruitment. I will present an alternative method for tracing early ethnic recruitment, based on the study of the earliest Roman bronze coinages from rural contexts. For this purpose I employed the rich numismatic databanks of NUMIS and PAN. My basic assumption is that the earliest Roman coin influx on the countryside reflects payment to auxiliaries, and is not related to agrarian surplus production for markets or the payment of taxes. I will analyse the influx of Lugdunum I asses (7-3 BC), Nemausus I coins (16-8 BC), Vienna/Copia coins (38-36 BC), and finally the pre-Augustan horizon of silver quinarii from Central-Eastern Gaul. My conclusion is that mass-recruitment started earlier than assumed so far and that irregular auxiliary troops received payment in Roman coin, certainly from 12 BC (related to the campaigns of Drusus), but probably already from c. 20 BC onwards (the campaigns of Agrippa). This military pay gave (irregular) auxiliaries already in the Augustan period access to Roman military markets, where they could buy a broad range of consumer goods like Italian terra sigillata and a diversity of bronze fibulae. These new insights fit well into our archaeological model of the ethnogenesis of the Batavi in the Rhine/Maas delta. Large-scale ethnic recruitment played a key role in the genesis of a Batavian identity group and its self-definition as a soldiering people.

Evidence for immigration in the Batavian region in the pre-Claudian Era. The study of large handmade pottery assemblages using a combination of traditional and science-based techniques
Julie Van Kerckhove, Gerard Boreel, Aardewerk & Archeologie

In the Batavian region, most pre-Roman handmade pottery was locally produced and embedded in a strong regional framework, following ancestral traditions. After the Roman conquest, however, these well-known ‘pottery style groups’ and typologies were largely replaced by new vessel types, decorations and technological characteristics. Traditionally, these characteristics have been used as a tool to attribute pottery to a specific ‘pottery style’ or to an ethnic group, in an attempt to reveal the provenance of the pottery. In this paper, we will present the potential of a multidisciplinary approach, combining scientific methods (petrography, WD-XRF, SEM-EDS and MGR) with traditional stylistic and technological analysis (e.g. vessel type, tempering, and decoration), challenging the constraints of a predominantly stylistic approach. This method was tested in a pilot study, where we analysed over 12,000 sherds from well-dated assemblages in the Tiel region. Most of the sherds we studied, proved to be non-local. Moreover, the pottery provenance is very heterogeneous. A whole array of provenance regions and (hybrid) styles as well as inter-site variation strongly suggest a high degree of mobility and a diverse composition of society across a wide region. Such high quantities of non-local pottery should most probably be understood as having been brought to the Tiel region by immigrants taking their entire household with them. The small number of samples that were produced locally shows a mix of ‘style elements’, demonstrating the mobility of ideas and traditions, most probably introduced by the same immigrants. Comparable indications of hybridity were also observed in house architecture.

Changing landscapes in the northern frontier: Contrasting settlement patterns north and south of Hadrian’s wall.
Manuel Fernandez-Gotz, University of Edinburgh, Derek Hamilton, Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, Dave Cowley, Historic Environment Scotland

This paper will present some preliminary results from a new Leverhulme Trust-funded project entitled “Beyond Walls: Reassessing Iron Age and Roman Encounters in Northern Britain”. The project aims to fundamentally transform our understanding of Rome’s impact on northern Britain, by analysing the transformation of settlement patterns and lifestyles in an area extending c. 40 km south of Hadrian’s Wall to c. 40 km north of the Antonine Wall. In order to contextualise the Roman influence, the project adopts a long-term perspective from c. 500 BC to AD 500 to facilitate the study of changes and continuities before, during, and after the period of direct Roman presence in the region. The main focus lies on rationalising existing survey and excavation data, while at the same time generating new information through remote sensing, palaeoenvironmental research, and radiocarbon dating. This combined strategy will produce more robust and nuanced narratives about Roman and indigenous interactions, and also contribute to the wider subject of cultural encounters on the edges of empires.

Exploring Power and Domination in Rome’s northernmost frontier zone
Andrew Lawrence, University of Berne, Tanja Romankiewicz, University of Edinburgh

Narratives on Roman Imperialism and its repercussions on the subjugated societies are often constructed around historically attested episodes. While these recorded events undoubtedly had a substantial impact, more protracted causes for socio-political transformations must also be considered. Roman impact did not just start with the conquest of a specific area but took hold decades before, provoking a wide spectrum of reactions by different local groupings. A new theoretical framework introduced in the first part of this jointly-presented paper, developed from the sociological concepts of “power” and “domination”, takes this fluid and multidimensional setting into account. Here, power is understood as the ever-increasing and constant reconfiguration of political influence on and between pre- and para-Roman societies. Domination is then the institutionalized and stabilized administration of Rome over one or more of these polities. In the second part of this paper, in a case study of southern and north-east Scotland, this framework will be put to the test. Evidence from the regions’ architectural record prior and during episodes of early encounters with Roman power will be analyzed against Rome’s more systematic strategies of domination, such as the construction of the linear fortification of the Antonine Wall in AD 142. The material evidence of Iron Age architecture, its design, material and construction, highlights its role in the immaterial changes in local power structures along Rome’s northern frontier. What emerges are the complexities within these shifts, from models congruent with heterarchy or even anarchy to more hierarchical patterns. A final comparison with other case studies from Gaulish and Germanic regions then contextualizes the Scottish case into broader strategies of Roman imperialism. This paper belongs to the project “REASSESSING ROMAN IMPACT – GEOGRAPHIES OF POWER AND DOMINATION IN THE ROMAN WEST AND BEYOND 200 BC – 200AD”, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

New data on the Roman military presence in the Gerês-Xurés Transboundary Biosphere Reserve and its impact on local landscapes and communities
João Fonte, Ioana Oltean, Department of Archaeology, University of Exeter

New data gathered in the scope of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie project Finisterrae (grant agreement 794048) funded by the European Commission has allowed us to reassess the Roman military presence in the Gerês-Xurés Transboundary Biosphere Reserve, an upland landscape crossed by several main river valleys in the border between northern Portugal and southern Galicia. Until now, the only known Roman military site in this area was the fort of Aquis Querquernis, which postdates the Roman conquest. The early Roman military activity was completely unknown archaeologically until now, only through Latin written sources. In this paper, we will be presenting and discussing the new data collected following an interdisciplinary and multiscale approach, from remote sensing to absolute dating. This has completely changed our perspective on the early Roman military presence in this area. Remote sensing has allowed us to locate new Roman military temporary sites, which have been archaeologically investigated and historically contextualised, covering a time span between the 2nd century BC and the 2nd century AD. This allowed us to integrate them with indigenous social dynamics, favouring a more substantiated and holistic approach to the impact of Roman imperialism on local landscapes and communities in this area.

The siege of Cerro Castarreño: reassessing the Roman-indigenous dynamics between the River Douro valley and the Cantabrian Mountains (Spain) during the 1st c. BC
José Manuel, University of Salamanca, Jesús García Sánchez, Instituto de Arqueología de Mérida, CSIC-Junta de Extremadura

The presence of the Turmogi -or Turmodigi- in ancient sources is practically testimonial. Neighbours of peoples such as the Cantabrians, Celtiberians or Vacceans, their role during the events leading to Rome’s absolute control of the Iberian Peninsula during the 1st century BC has mainly gone unnoticed in the traditional historiography. According to these sources, this territory was already incorporated into the Roman state when Augustus launched his offensive against the Cantabrians and Asturians (29-19 BC). In recent years (2017-21), archaeological research has documented the traces of a forgotten episode of violence in the region. Applying a multidisciplinary approach that combines different remote sensing techniques –aerial and satellite coverages, airborne LiDAR technology, aerial survey using UAVs, geophysical survey- and a thorough ground-truthing process –artefactual and metal-detecting oriented surveys, excavation of test-pits- it has been possible to document a 6 km long circumvallatio and an external contravallatio linking several Roman camps which surround the oppidum of Cerro Castarreño. Archaeological evidence also points towards the Roman military presence at the hillfort itself. This research undermines the traditional narratives where the Turmogi acted as a natural ally of Rome in the region after being wronged by the Cantabrians, hence serving as casus belli for the final Roman offensive in Iberia. Given the evidence, we must rethink the role played by these people in the complex Roman-indigenous dynamics of the Late Republic and Early Empire. Soon after this episode, the Pisuerga and Arlanzón river basins were restructured in Augustan times in close connection with the Roman military deployment in northern Iberia. The oppidum of Cerro Castarreño was replaced by the new cityof Segisamo (Sasamón), which came to border the prata of the legio IIII Macedonica in Herrera de Pisuerga (Palencia), only 30 km to the north-west.

Le développement d’une zone frontière en milieu désertique : l’exemple de la Tripolitaine
Michel Reddé, PSL University, Ecole pratique des hautes études, Paris

Tripolitania’s “border” is special in that it is an open frontier, in direct contact with the populations of the desert.It was only at the beginning of the 3rd century, when the nomads were already in the process of settling, that the Roman army controlled these vast areas by setting up a few military camps.

Republican Imperialism on the Balkan: ancient strategies versus modern misunderstanding?
Karl Strobel, Universität Klagenfurt, Dept. of Ancient History and Archaeology

The Roman involvement in the balkan changed the ethnic and tribal landscape already in Republican times. In contrast to Spain and Gaul, Roman politics in this region were part of the eastern mediterranean historical implications since the later 3rd c. BC. The Roman involvement in the Balkan cannot be seen or even understood in the model of Roman imperialism, a problematic modern construct of historical interpretation. The strategies used by the Romans until the35 BC are deeply rooted in the political and military traditions of hellenistic powergame.

Getae, Moesi, and Scythians: Ethnographic (re)configurations in Rome’s early lower Danube borderland
Timothy Hart, University of Massachusetts Amherst

When Rome expanded into the lower Danubian realm in the early first century CE, it found a human landscape consisting of a patchwork of sedentary and transhumant peoples, many of whom spoke related languages in the Thracian linguistic family. In his Geography (7.3.1), Strabo captured a snapshot of this greater Thracian world, which he described collectively as the land of the Getae, and which he pictured extending on both sides of the Danube throughout the Bulgarian and Wallachian plains, and the Dobrogea. Strabo’s description of the lower Danubian realm captured the final moments of a cultural landscape that long predated the arrival of Rome and its Danube limes, but it was a rapidly-changing world, even then. In this paper I will explore how Rome’s establishment of a military frontier along the lower Danube sparked fundamental changes in the ways Greeks and Romans thought – and wrote – about the indigenous communities of the region. Rome’s limes neatly bisected Strabo’s “land of the Getae,” and since the empire viewed its rule as hegemony over discrete cities and peoples (Mattern 1999), it was ideologically untenable for half of the Getae to live under imperial rule while the other half did not. With the Danube limes firmly established, we find an intellectual, rather than a military answer to this problem. By looking at the authors of the later first century and beyond, I will demonstrate how older ethnographic categories were superseded by new divisions designed to emphasize a – largely imagined – distinction between trans-limitine, Scythian, nomadism and the emerging “civilization” of Rome’s lower Danubian provinces. Crucially, I will also illustrate how these new ethnographic divisions shaped divergent Roman imperial interactions with the tribal peoples on either side of the river.

Indigenous and exogenous population groups in the Alpine foothills and the organisation of the province of Raetia et Vindelicia during the 1st century AD
Bernd Steidl, Archäologische Staatssammlung

For a long time, an inhumation-practicing population group has been known from the rural area of northern Alpine Raetia. This population is called the “Heimstetten group” after the most important find site. The women’s graves were characterised by a costume of uniform appearance. According to common opinion, this population was settled around AD 30 under Roman direction. New excavations and research have now made it possible to link the graves to a certain type of rural settlement, which can be recognisably derived from local roots. The local population bears the habit as the “Heimstetten group” for only about one generation, which can be understood as a nativist reaction to the Roman occupation. But even later, the group persisted in its traditional way of life and adapted Roman influences only to a small extent. In order to build an infrastructure in the province, Rome had to bring Mediterranean or Romanised population groups into the region, who were mainly involved in the construction of towns and vici of the central and western Alpine foothills. A third population component is discernible in the area around the provincial capital Augusta Vindelicum/Augsburg. In late Augustan/Tiberian and Claudian times, Elbe Germans were settled there. Probably, there was a connection with the end of the reigns of Marbod (AD 19) and Vannius (AD 50) to the north of the Danube. The Suebi, who initially settled according to Germanic patterns, quickly integrated. Already at the beginning of the 2nd century they formed part of the provincial elite. Overall, the picture of population conditions in Raetia in the early imperial period was complex. It was characterised by a continuing autochthonous population base, Mediterranean or Romanised immigrants as well as soldiers of the auxilia and relocated Germanic exiles who were open to the Roman way of life. Contacts between all groups can be detected. The boundaries became blurred over time, but did not disappear completely. The Mediterranean element lost importance, the autochthones in the rural environment changed little. After the early 2nd century, the Germanic tribes can only be traced through the persistence of the drinking horn custom.

The Enemy Within? Military forts behind the Danube frontier
Damjan Donec, Middle East Technical University

By the time of the Severan dynasty, there were nearly a dozen permanent military forts in the interior of the Balkan and Danube provinces, sometimes located hundreds of kilometers behind the Danube Limes. A few different explanations for their possible roles have been proposed in the scholarly literature, but they mostly revolve around the need to control strategic segments of the regional road network or to provide logistical and technical support and security to the mining operations in the Balkan interior. In this paper, we shall briefly survey the available data pertinent to these installations, and we shall try to put forward another possible explanation – not necessarily incompatible with existing explanations – for their presence in areas at great distances from the state frontier. The distribution of these forts in relation to the known facts about the ethnic and administrative map of the study-region and their founding dates are of crucial importance to the hypothesis advanced in this paper. We shall also take a brief look at the available epigraphic evidence found in these forts or their vicinity and look at possible parallels in other frontier provinces. Should this explanation contain a kernel of truth, it will entail a number of significant implications for the municipalization and urbanization of the Balkan provinces and it will underscore the importance of the army in the administration of this peripheral and unruly corner of the Roman Empire.

Before the Romans, their coins came. Hoards of Roman coins of Augustan Period in Late Iron Age South-Carpathian Dacia
Dragos Mandescu, Ioan-Andi Pitigoi, Arges County Museum, Pitesti, Romania

In recent years, chance finds of coin hoard made with metal detectors have constantly increased in Romania. Two such discoveries, made recently in Argeş County, about 4 km away from each other (Valea Nenii, 2019 and Fureşti, 2020) attract attention: they are two monetary deposits of Roman republican denarii ending in the times of Augustus (13 BC). Both accidental discoveries were followed shortly by archaeological excavations that led to the recovery of the entire batch of coins and the clarification of the contexts. The first deposit clearly belonged to a pre-Roman Dacian settlement. The second one must be put in the context of a road that had been used since the Bronze Age. The two deposits of Roman republican denarii join three other similar discoveries in the proximity, all of these ending with coins from Augustus, previously known (Cetăţeni, Strâmba and Văleni). These unitary discoveries (five hoards closing with issues from 16-9 BC merged on an area of less than 200 km2) are able to attest a nucleus of Dacian communities in the South Carpathians being in close connectivity and relationship with the Roman authority just installed on the south bank of the Lower Danube. And all these right in the wake of vigorous Roman military interventions north of the river that finally led to the cessation of Dacian centers of power from Muntenia (i.e. Popeşti, Cetăţeni, Tinosu, Zimnicea, Piscu Crăsani).

From deserta Boiorum to civitas Boiorum
Szilvia Bíró, Iseum Savariense /Savaria Museum (Szombathely, HU)

The time of the formation of Illyricum/Pannonia province (the last decades BC and the first decades AD) is less known to the researchers. However the last years offer some new results, which help us to enlight the situation in NW-Pannonia. What did happen to the people of the Late LTD- period, how did the demography changed and how did the “population-map” of the area transform, inside and outside of the later province territory?