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Miss Caroline Pudney 

PhD research

Landscape, People and Experience in the Severn Estuary during the Roman Period

This thesis centres on the concept of social change and continuity.  The major consideration of this research is if and how outlooks upon the world may have changed for those inhabiting the Severn Estuary during the late Iron Age and Romano-British period.  Using the Severn Estuary in the Roman period as the focus I hope to show how identities were played out through material objects at a time where the interaction of different cultures meant that identity and meaning were never static or simple but fluid and complex.

This area has been chosen for a number of reasons, the main one being the apparent boundary the River Severn seems to have marked in the late Iron Age between the Dobunni to the east and the Silures to the west.  Clearly recognised as two culturally different groups by the Romans, is any of this visible in the archaeological record? Does the adoption of Roman cultural attributes reflect a topographical divide along the line of the River or is the watercourse seen as something more than a boundary?

Using evidence from the Historic Environment Records (HERs) of South Wales, Gloucestershire and Somerset, as well as specific site reports and antiquarian accounts, I seek to recognise how aspects of the material world were used and transformed from the first century BC to the end of the second century AD.  This will consider issues of identity, materiality, sociality and acculturation and will create an in depth case study of the Severn Estuary, highlighting avenues for further research on the Romanisation.