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Durham e-Theses
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Reappraising Penn and Harker: a reassessment of the finds from excavations at Roman Springhead, published between 1957 and 1984, and interpretations made about their use in past activities

Jarrett, Richard (2008) Reappraising Penn and Harker: a reassessment of the finds from excavations at Roman Springhead, published between 1957 and 1984, and interpretations made about their use in past activities. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to re-assess the poorly understood, yet extensive, quantities of finds from the Roman 'temple site' at Springhead in North Kent. The publication of this material by William Penn and Sydney Marker in a series of reports, between 1957 and 1984, meant that the assemblage was never viewed as a whole, and a full analysis has never been undertaken. Recent work by Oxford Archaeology (1994) and Wessex Archaeology (1998-2001) led to a major increase in knowledge about the site, revealing three new temples in an extensive 'religious enclosure' and a large number of accompanying structures. It was, therefore, important that the large quantities of finds discovered during Penn and Marker's excavations were examined in relation to this work to provide as complete an understanding of the site as possible. The study sought to map the distribution of finds from Penn and Marker's excavations in time and space, and explore their relationship to the structural history of the site, to see what light they might shed on past activities, drawing on similar approaches used in current research on 'temple sites' in Roman Britain, which are felt to have yielded interesting information. The issues raised by current approaches to 'ritual' and 'structured deposition', which have played an important role in current studies of the distribution of finds and their significance to past activities, were also considered. Examination was undertaken, firstly, of the distribution of finds sharing similar forms and potential functions, to ascertain whether traits could be identified in their treatment and deposition that may have been significant as part of past activities. The importance of the material for understanding activities associated with other 'temple sites' in Roman Britain was also assessed. Analysis also took into account that while there may have been commonly held symbolic concepts affecting the use and treatment of finds on 'temple sites', such objects could have been used in many different ways once they had been brought there, in a variety of circumstances throughout its long history of use. Analysis was, therefore, also conducted upon relationships between finds deposited in archaeological features and strata from different periods, in an attempt to consider the potential for diversity in the use of objects at Springhead. The information obtained by the analysis was used to reappraise interpretations made about the site by Penn, Marker and various researchers, taking into consideration issues raised in current approaches towards 'interpretative archaeologies'.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2008
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:26

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