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Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual and Archaeological Data

Author(s): Glenn R. Storey


Source: Journal of Archaeological Research, Vol. 7, No. 3 (September 1999), pp. 203-248
Published by: Springer
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Journal of Archaeological Research, Vol. 7, No. 3, 1999

Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating


Textual and Archaeological Data
Glenn R. Storey1 2

Although the collection of new data and the development of an enduring interest in
theoretical concerns characterize much current work in Roman archaeology, the
field continues to experience tension between traditional classical archaeological
approaches and practices borrowed from other branches of archaeology. This
tension is most clearly visible with the integration of textual and archaeological
data. How the dynamic between these provenances plays out in Roman archaeology
can be seen in theoretical and methodological applications, the use of field survey,
and the adoption of an Annaliste perspective by some Roman archaeologists.
Text and archaeology are crucial contributors to the the study of early Rome and
its origins, investigations in the capital for all periods, the study of Pompeii,
and attempts to illuminate the chief characteristics of the Roman economy. Many
advances in Roman archaeology have occurred largely as a result of a conscious
attempt on the part of Roman archaeologists to properly contextualize textual data
in light of the archaeological data, thereby providing a better balance between the
two sets of information and liberating archaeology from being the "handmaid of
history"
KEY WORDS: Roman archaeology; Rome, Pompeii; Roman economy; field survey; archaeological
theory; text and archaeology.

INTRODUCTION

Roman archaeology, though a diverse field encompassing a wide var


of practices and practitioners, is chiefly dominated by classical archaeologi
Bennet and Galaty noted in their review of Greek archaeology (1997, pp. 7

'Department of Classics, University of Iowa, 202 Schaeffer Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.
2Depaitment of Anthropology, University of Iowa, 114 Macbride Hall, Iowa City, IA
e-mail: glenn-storey@uiowa.edu.

203

1059-0161/99/0900-0203$ 16.00/0 ©1999 Plenum Publishing Corporation

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204 Storey

that no sing
complement
important to
studies. I end
classical pers
Many classi
despite devel
ers are chan
1988). This a
anthropologi
work and lit
The major t
archaeology
city of Rome
economy.3 T
to the leitmo
cal and docu
(1 000 B .C.
250 B.C. is to
Rome ruled
Reviewing w
identified tw
and compara
advances as w
material tha
matters has

THEORY AND ROMAN ARCHAEOLOGY

A core of practitioners in classical archaeology has always paid attention


trends elsewhere, but many more Roman archaeologists are now actively pur
ing theory. Examples can be found in the proceedings of the Theoretical Rom
Archaeology Conferences (TRAC) in Great Britain (Cottam et a/., 1994; Rush,
1995; Scott, 1993b) and the review sections of the Journal of Roman Archaeo
ogy (JRA) and the Journal of Roman Studies ( JRS). The idea for TRAC originat

3Due to the text-archaeology focus of this paper, and considerations of brevity, I have chosen to le
aside several important research topics, including the Roman provinces, the Roman frontier, Rom
numismatics, Roman technology, Roman demography, and the art historical archaeology of the Rom
world. Some current contributions in those areas can be found in the Bibliography of Recent Literature
which is designed to give as wide ranging a sample of the literature as possible. It also should be no
that the study of Roman archaeology produces a vast literature in other languages (especially Ital
French, and German), but this review focuses mainly on literature available in English.

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Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual and Archaeological Data 205

ETRURIA > 25
ç? 81
282724 **
_J ROME

U^ 20
.

A ¿^V "ffi 0 Hues 10 h


Atlantic erJ*^ ^' N t/A
OCEAN ^ ^ ^'^_^ r' s¡ i! ^

>s. S^_^^ MEDITERRANEAN SEA


Nv™^^^ /^^-^v ^^fr-^J / PER
0 llilefl 100° J 's/'RED SEA
Fig. 1. The Mediterranean Basin and the Roman Empire at its greatest extent, at the death
Emperor Trajan in A.D. 1 1 7. B is the insert showing a closeup of Rome and Latium marked as
in A. Key to the maps: 1 Rome and Latium; 2 Britain; 3 Egypt; 4 Gaul; 5 Greece; 6 Sardinia; 7
8 Arretium; 9 Biferno Valley; 10 Etruria; 11 Gubbio Basin; 12 Isis wreck; 13 Kasserine; 14
15 Lycia; 16 Magna Graecia; 17 Plemmirio B wreck; 18 Pompeii; 19 Tarragona; 20 Alba
21 Antemnae; 22 Rome: Campus Martius; 23 Crustumerium; 24 Rome: Esquiline Hill; 25 F
26 Osterìa dell' Osa (Gabii); 27 Rome: Palatine Hill; 28 Rome: Sam' Omobono (on bank oppo
the number); 29 Veii; 30 Tiber River.

with Roman archaeologists attending the Theoretical Archaeology Group


conferences (Scott, 1993a, p. 2). They were dissatisfied with the tradition
proach to Roman archaeology practiced by the older generation of B
Roman archaeologists (Scott, 1990, 1993c), who were focused on the R
army and were generally comfortable with the essentially colonialist proc
"Romanization" (Miles, 1990; Woolf, 1995). Consequently, TRAC (as an offs

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206 Storey

of TAG) inc
theorizing.
Bintliff (199
classical arch
attempt to
Tilley (1992)
to British Ro
Although th
that excessive
often munda
studies depen
archaeology

The controversi
ern history, an
results from ne
presence of deb
work. Neither G
and debate.

With the TR
begun this p
Even withou
oriented app
proach for G
questions abo
the Archaeol
body of class
classical arch
the documen
for example
written sourc
record. Snodg
sources, Büch
tion of the h
That, howev
history" a ph
phrase has b
trying to br
(1995, p. 634
handmaid of
process." The
partner th in
for integrati

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Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual and Archaeological Data 207

This dynamic and the consequent tension between text and archaeology is a
theoretical matter that has been increasingly explored for many other areas where
both types of evidence are available (e.g., Little, 1992, general; Beaudry, 1988,
North American historical archaeology; Marcus, 1992, Mesoamerica; Adams,
1984, and George, 1993, Mesopotamia; Morrison and Lycett, 1997, India). Roman
evidence is an important part of this debate (Rowland, 1992; Vann, 1992). Small
(1995b) presented the fruits of recent work on the relation of Mediterranean ar-
chaeology to the textual record, but only one case study explicitly covered a topic
in Roman archaeology (Hitchner, 1995); Greek archaeology (as demonstrated by
Bennet and Galaty, 1997) may be slightly ahead of Roman archaeology in the
pursuit of the integration of textual and artifactual data (Arafat, 1990; Bennet,
1994). However, according to Small, although a "Cambridge School" is assaulting
the barriers between history and archaeology in Greek studies (Spencer, 1995),
textual data and their analysis are privileged even in these cases (Small, 1995a,
p. 6). Only Alcock (of the group) in her study of Roman-period Greece (1989,
1993) was able to break away from this imbalance because her work was based
on archaeological survey data.
The papers in Small (1995b) are thought provoking and innovative, but do not
provide a coherent guide for integrating text and archaeological data, nor are they
meant to do so. Kosso (1995) provided direction, recommending steps to assure log-
ical and epistemic independence of textual and archaeological data before either are
used to support or contradict the other. Simply using both types of evidence in the
same context does not guarantee that circularity of argument will be avoided. J. C.
Meyer (1983) in his work on the archaeology of early Rome emphasized that point.
The approach of the Small (1995b) papers is to analyze archaeological evide-
nce and then comment upon it in light of relevant textual evidence. Hitchner's case
study (1995) attempts to integrate data from the Roman North African Kasserine
survey with an analysis of the Albertini Tablets - 5th-century A.D. wooden tablets
that recorded bills of sale for agricultural parcels. He concluded that the tenor of the
documentary information about land use, issues of social organization, land rights,
and agricultural technology in the study area supported the picture recovered from
the archaeological survey. That is how archaeological survey, to which we now
turn, has usually been used to integrate textual and artifactual data.

Survey Archaeology in the Roman World

A number of Roman archaeologists have ventured into the countryside to


survey the extensive Roman remains found there. Although surveying in the
Mediterranean area came of age contemporaneously with anthropological archae-
ology's development of the technique in the 1950s, Carl Biegen in Greek ar-
chaeology and Thomas Ashby in Roman archaeology were its pioneers. Ashby

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208 Storey

explored the
the Roman re
deserves much
in the latter
in Peru (Dyso
ignored devel
probably look
scape archaeol
(Hitchner, 19
Classical arch
ing field surv
scape studies,
rural Mediter
data (Carlsen
Summaries o
(Barker and
Several meth
survey work
ample, Millet
acknowledgin
it evolved ove
On that subje
systematic lin
surveys use lin
p. 347). The pr
out by indivi
tion procedur
perhaps mitig
vey, where "su
of the site ...
(walls, terrace
detailed lands
On the relati
cations, Mille
of calibrating
population (C
be collected, n
initial identif
of sherds for
tion is then d
define sites in
settlement pat

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Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual and Archaeological Data 209

supply. The method is simple enough to apply to a large number of different survey
situations.
Roman survey data have provided long-term evidence for culture histories
independent of documentary information (Barker, 1991a? Potter, 1991). Patterson
(1987) dispelled ethnohistorically derived impressions of an agricultural crisis in
Italy in the first century A.D. and compared survey findings from Samnium in Italy
with those from Lycia in Asia Minor (Patterson, 1991). He modeled relationships
among the entrance of local elite into the Roman power structure, increased wealth
manifested in larger landholdings with consequent changes in settlement patterns,
and increased public building in local urban communities.
Alcock (1989, 1993) used survey data to offer a fresh perspective on Roman
Greece, devaluating the usual assumption of population decline and decadence
asserted by Roman commentators on Greece. Alcock's explanation of population
relocation, with greater emphasis on nucleation in urban centers, offered some
correction to the Romans' bilious view of the province. Her innovative research,
complemented by documentary data (especially epigraphic) plus the handy di-
vision of the landscape into four settlement types (rural, urban, provincial, and
sacred), demonstrated that reasonable cultural histories can be written based on
archaeological survey data (Mattingly, 1994, p. 162).

Survey and the Annales in Roman Archaeology

The two methodological issues discussed above involve integrating archae-


ological and textual data. One approach adopted by Roman archaeologists is the
application of the history-inspired French Annales perspective (Barker, 1995b;
Bintliff, 1991a; Coarelli, 1982, 1983; Hitchner, 1994b; Knapp, 1992; see Smith,
1992, for a less sanguine view). The Annaliste approach, in reaction to 19th-century
German scholarship on great men and national character, puts stress on general-
ization as opposed to the unique and particular, with less attention on sources and
textual criticism than on the search for new large data bases for social science statis-
tical analysis (Bintliff, 1991b, pp. 4-6). The Annaliste attention to "total history,"
short and long time scales, events and processes, and cognitive history has been
seen as a useful framework for ordering different archaeological tasks. Explaining
exactly how to do Annaliste archaeology for the Romans or any other cultural
group is not a simple task. Knapp (1992) and Bintliff (1991a) provide reasonable
primers. However, the Annales view appeals to many archaeologists simply be-
cause it is holistic, interdisciplinary, and problem oriented - a fully social science
approach. Survey archaeologists are sympathetic to it because survey work looks
at deep chronologies for cultural trajectories - the Annales' longue durée.
The general lack of consensus on the definition of what Annales is and does
may be a result of "interdisciplinary foraging" (Bulliet, 1992, p. 132), whereby

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210 Storey

one discipline
of favor in th
vogue hist in
attributes arc
That does not
Annales histo
coherent thin
The most ex
the Biferno V
Italy) by Bar
terial, and te
the Paleolithi
Annales appr
is as well adap
pects of econ
histoire événe
of Sulla's So
tal data for t
approach. (Th
provided the
in the Medite
were at, or ap
contradicted
unsophisticat
The project
farms gave w
view of the d
B.C. to the en
survey projec
growth in an
remarkable co
documented b
situation und

In Barker's B
ularly elegant
the Basin ofM
1982; Feinma
et al, 1994), t
(Malone and S
rably complet
without adopt
the same resu

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Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual and Archaeological Data 211

complained that the chapters of Barker (1995b) for better-documented periods


(Samnite and Roman) spent too much space discussing the textual evidence be-
fore the evidence of the archaeology had been fully exploited and explained (as it
had been in the prehistoric period chapters), prompting Millett to comment on the
lost opportunity of allowing the archaeological data to challenge their role as the
"handmaid of history."
As Bulliet aptly summarized, the effect oï tht Annales "revolution" in history
was "less to provide a specific formula to follow than an opportunity to gain a
hearing for new and adventurous ideas ." For archaeology, it is largely the same:
"innovative techniques, orientation toward solving problems, experimentation with
intractable and non-traditional historical data, and great diversity in seeing that the
human past may be reconstructed in myriad ways" (both quotes, 1992, p. 133).
Bulliet is probably right that "there is ultimately nothing in the Annales school that
can take archaeologists much farther intellectually than they have already gone"
(1992, p. 132).
There is, however, one valuable aspect of the Annales approach for archaeol-
ogy: its language and rhetoric provide a nimble common discourse that seems to
appeal to many kinds of archaeologists. Annales covers the gamut from short-term,
highly detailed events (histoire événementielle), medium-term socioeconomic cy-
cles (conjonctures), all the way to long-term regional generalizing trajectories
(longue durée), plus incorporating issues of the mind (mentalités). This frame-
work reconciles the often contentious and sterile disputes between generalists and
particularists, and processualists and postprocessualists. Any theoretical perspec-
tive that can do that has earned its keep.
Moreover, from an anthropological perspective, it is encouraging to see the
Romans put in the context of regional-scale cultural continuity rather than seeing
exclusive concentration on the Roman period (the best and most interesting part
of the sequence) with everybody else just mentioned (the less interesting part).
Hitchner (1994b, pp. 416-417) comments on the Annales and classical archae-
ology: "The Annales paradigm offers ... the option of a flexible interdisciplinary
methodology capable of manipulating the rich material record of the ancient world
in ways that the traditional text driven and art historical approaches cannot."
The Gubbio Basin project (Malone and Stoddart, 1994) also employed an
Annales orientation, but the framework adopted was not as rigidly Annaliste as
the Biferno Valley project. The Gubbio results, however, were equally rich in
tracing the evolutionary trajectory of an area of north central Italy that perhaps
was even more of a backwater than the Biferno Valley. The Gubbio project has
particular relevance in that the region's claim to fame stems from the Iguvine
Tables, a set of seven bronze inscriptions that relate important local rituals (al-
most certainly based only on oral tradition), most probably inscribed at the be-
ginning of the common era during the reign of Augustus (Malone and Stoddart,
1994, pp. 171-177). With the lack of either substantial literary or archaeological

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212 Storey

information a
attention in
from this pr
approach adop
archaeologica
should be im

It is appropriat
a valley that re
solved by treat
ological perspec
them ... By pre
appropriate per

One final ap
studies deser
proaches to R
sical Greek c
historically e
cal scholarsh
remedied that
much of the
section and a
wove various
The result is
all the eviden
diciously dre
analysis, suc
munity rese
of the Anna
cross-cultura
effective way
in the questi
as the buildin
ancient Roman world.

The Archaeology of Early Rome

When, how, and why did Rome become a city? Traditionally, Rome was sup-
posedly founded by Romulus and Remus in 753 B.C. The Mycenaeans (whose
artifacts appear in Italy at the end of the Bronze Age), the Etruscans to the north,
and the colonists from mainland Greece occupying south Italy (Magna Graecia)
are all thought to have played a role in making Rome a civilization and major player
in Italian regional and Mediterranean world politics. Recent work addressed the

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Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual and Archaeological Data 213

question of Rome's origins (Ammerman, 1990, 1996, 1997; Cornell, 1995;


Holloway, 1994; Smith, 1994, 1996). The traditional date certainly stems from an
arbitrary fiction invented by the Romans themselves (Cornell, 1995, p. 72). Con-
vincing arguments against major cultural influence in Italy by the Mycenaeans
are summarized by Smith (1996, pp. 24-43). Cornell (1995, pp. 151-172>has
effectively demolished the notion that Roman society was derivative from
Etruscan; he points out as well as that Greek influence in the development of
social stratification in Latium was not decisive because it probably came into exis-
tence indigenously while the Greeks were making inroads into northern Italy from
the south (1995, p. 87).
Archaeology has played a major role in providing the evidence for these
conclusions, largely through treatment of the period as prehistory accompanied by a
historical record that is sometimes illuminating but most often not. Archaeological
work has clarified the social processes of the period by revealing the presence of
emergent social stratification in Latium from about 900 B.C. and perhaps earlier
(Smith, 1996, pp. 224-232). For the rise of complex society in Italy in the early
Iron Age, the "peer polity interaction" model seems adept at addressing the issue
of diverse regional cultures dealing with one another largely on an equal footing.
However, that model treats less the origin than the development of complexity
(Cherry, 1986).
A promising model for the origin of the Roman state is Gilman's (1991, 1995)
"Germanic chiefdoms" model, which holds that the Neolithic agricultural system
led naturally to distinct inequalities in the sizes of land holdings. A kinship-based
patron-client system arose and led eventually to the collection of rent from (in
essence) tenant farmers by the emerging elites. This system of staple finance was
augmented by trade in luxury goods, which led to wealth finance and the funerary
and civic wealth displays of both Etruria and Latium. Etruria, favored by excellent
agricultural land as well as access to metals, may have preceded Latium in the
process, but not by much, given Latium's potential for agricultural intensification
and its key location for mediating trade between Etruria and Magna Graecia. The
role of both intra-and interregional trade is emphasized by Smith (1996). Current
views of the origin of Rome, then, just as for other regions of prehistoric Europe,
"stress the autochthonous character ofthat development" (Gilman, 1995, p. 236).
Archaeology has helped discredit the diffusionist models suggested by the
documentary record; but the main problem with the archaeology of early Rome
has been, and continues to be, that it must contend with the written record about
that period. It is a problem because the accuracy of that record has been too
often assumed, and the archaeology has facilely been used to confirm that record.
Corneirs (1995, p. 18) view is that "[we are] becoming increasingly dependent
on archaeological evidence, which incidentally lends considerable support to the
traditional annalistic [the earliest written] account." But in fact, Roman history is
neither reliable nor plentiful until about 200 B.C. (Finley, 1985b, p. 10). There
is really only an oral tradition written down several centuries later, about which

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214 Storey

Finley comp
the people th
p. 16). The i
"believers." T
it. As Amme
tradition as
the archaeolo
archaeology.
Furthermor
cavating in
pp. 285-286)
contemporar
much unpub
communities
systematic s
due east of R
burial contex
the Roman p
interregiona
in the 8th ce
cal investigat
Italy as an in
tinues to elu
contact (Biet
According t
Sant' Omobon
Hill), it was
1000 and 70
early as the
Sebastiani, 1
period. Much
concentrated
location of a
pp. 68-80),
element of th
From the 8t
type (Amme
gave way to
of the Palati
ies moved fr
the Esquiline
continued ap
picture of ur

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Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual and Archaeological Data 215

settlements (sharing a common cemetery) into one community. Comparative evi-


dence from early Greece suggests a process similar to that called "synoikism"
(combining separate villages into a city-state). [Both Raaflaub (1991) and Smith
(1994) stressed the relevance of Greek comparative evidence on the evolution
of urbanism for central Italy.] The best example is Gabii, which assimilated the
communities using the cemetery of Osteria dell' Osa in the 8th century B.C.
(Bietti Sestieri, 1992a, p. 211). For all Latian centers (including Rome), increas-
ing regional elite interaction led to the strengthening of local hierarchies and the
ascendancy of powerful families, followed by a shift of wealth display from burial
contexts to public architecture. Settlement evidence is sparse compared to burial
evidence, but research suggests that the terminal process in the urbanization of
Rome was the filling up of the countryside in the 7th and 6th centuries, as doc-
umented for communities north of Rome such as Antemnae, Crustumerium, and
Fidenae (Holloway, 1994, pp. 124-127; Quilici and Quilici-Gigli, 1978, 1980,
1986, 1993; Smith, 1994).
Rome prospered because the geography of western central Italy offers two
paths of contact between Etruria and southern Italy, either along the coast or
through the corridor in the mountains linking the Tiber-Anio and the Sacco-Liri-
Garigliano fluvial systems. In the protohistory of Latium (10th century B.C.), elite
trade between the regions seems to have favored the coastal route; the sites centered
on the Alban Hills southeast of Rome benefited. At the end of the 9th century, the
Alban Hills sites declined, and Rome began to grow. Etrurian contacts with the
south appear to have originated mostly (and logically) from Veii, Rome's closest
Etruscan neighbor to the north (Bietti-Sestieri, 1992a, pp. 72-75, 233-243). Rome
stood between Veii and the inland corridor to Latium and Campania to the south,
monopolizing contact between Etruria and Magna Graecia.
I return now to the relevance of the interaction of literary tradition and the
archaeological record. Finley described the problem so well that his comments
deserve to be quoted in extenso (1985b, p. 21):

For reasons that are rooted in our intellectual history, ancient historians are often seduced
into two unexpressed propositions. The first is that statements in the literary or documentary
sources are to be accepted unless they can be disproved (to the satisfaction of the individual
historian). This proposition derives from the privileged position of Greek and Latin» and it
is especially unacceptable for the early periods of both Greek and Roman history, where
the archaeological evidence bulks so large (and daily grows proportionally still larger) and
where the quantitatively far from inconsiderable literary tradition is particularly suspect.
The second proposition is that the most insistent historical question one can put to an
archaeological find is, Does it support or falsify the literary tradition? That approach gives
automatic priority to literary evidence, and, in the history of early Rome, for example, has
led to optimistic claims of archaeological support for the literary tradition, resting on highly
selective tests.

Most of Holloway's summary is a repeated call for treating the archaeological


record independently of the literary record (1994, p. 11): "Archaeology deserves

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216 Storey

better than t
Its own tale
written trad
concurred th
of picture of
stand separat
story in itse
on the archa
an approach.
Cornell (199
record in rec
account raise
He insisted (
works in his
archaeologica
sources (199
place. Cornel
did not succ
to choose be
ways, "assum
ever he sees
1994).
This is a common and intractable problem in Roman archaeology and, by
extension, to other cultures with substantial documentation. The documentary
record of Rome is so large and detailed, from sources with such vastly different aims
and agendas, that attempts to interpret the evidence usually lead an investigator to
cite some documentary evidence in support of an argument and build an elaborate
case on why contradictory documentary evidence must be wrong. This is akin
to Quellenforschung, the source criticism of the last century whereby a scholar
decided "which ancient accounts to accept and which to reject, on the basis of
identifying the authors' biases and the evidence which they could have had access
to" (Morris, 1994, p. 18). Such a guessing game finds little favor among many
classicists today.
The documentary evidence on early Rome can be characterized as totally
unreliable: "There is hardly a single piece of documentary evidence (such as laws,
treaties and lists of magistrates) whose authenticity and historical value is not
fiercely debated" (Raaflaub, 1991, p. 8). The written record about Rome's origins
is clearly relevant as an indicator of what the Romans thought was important
about their city in early times; but for the archaeologist, ignoring the documentary
evidence and treating early Rome as fully "prehistoric" might be a better expedient
than picking and choosing which documentary sources to accept or reject. Meyer
(1983, p. 22) emphasized how the most widely accepted chronology for early
Rome gained favor because it fit into the general scheme of European prehistory

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Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual and Archaeological Data 217

better than that derived from the classical archaeological art and documentary
historical-inspired view propounded by Gjerstad (1953-1973). Raaflaub recom-
mended (1991, p. 8) taking the writings of Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnasus
"as prose epics or historical novels and treating them as we do Homer and
Virgil." Wiseman added that an expression of pessimism in regard to the authen-
ticity of the documentary record is not a sign of intellectual dishonesty (1996,
p. 315).
Consequently, in regarding early Roman times it is possible to downplay the
role of documentation, largely because it is insignificant or lacking altogether.
(The same is true for much archaeological investigation of the provinces of the
Roman empire.) An excellent example is the Latían investigations of Bietti Sestieri
(1992a,b). She did not use historical models or the literary record because they
did not apply to the period (1992a, p. 254): 'The decision was right. The evidence
presented and processed ... is detailed and extensive enough to be considered on
its own terms9' (Ridgway, 1995, p. 328, italics original). The result is "a substantial
demonstration of something that protohistorians have long known: it is that the
familiar historical institutions of Tyrrhenian Italy . . . were heirs to centuries of
complex, unaided and text-free social and political development" (Ridgway, 1995,
p. 329). Smith (1996) started with archaeological data and anthropological models
of funerary evidence and then appropriately incorporated the literary record for
illustrating the cultural milieu of early Rome and Latium. As with Dyson's (1992)
rural studies, this is another good example of how the totality of evidence can be
used to illuminate the evolutionary processes of urban society at Rome, but not
necessarily the precise events recorded in the documents.

Archaeology of the Roman Forum and the City of Rome

How best to use the written record in archaeological investigations of early


Rome also figures largely in ongoing investigations of Rome for all periods. One
relevant caveat is that the archaeology of the capital is heavily influenced by
the branch of Roman studies known as "topography," in which classical scholars
relate the past to the present-day landscape (Dyson, 1985, p. 453). "One of the chief
attractions of Roman topography as a subject is the way in which the monuments of
the city directly and indirectly reflect broader historical developments" (Patterson,
1992, p. 214). However, unless it is remembered that the chronological frame of
reference and historical contexts for most monuments is broad, Roman topography
can descend into perpetuating archaeology's status as "handmaid."
Giacomo Boni carried out systematic work in the Roman Forum in the last
century. Boni was an architect whose relations with other Roman scholars (philo-
logically and historically oriented) were not good because he downplayed the
role of history in his investigations (Coarelli, 1982, p. 727). His work was ahead
of its time, and his attitude about the written record seems close to Holloway's.

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218 Storey

However, th
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concentrated
made the mo
topographica
painting a re

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Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual and Archaeological Data 219

The documentary sources, however, are nothing more than narrative history
(Finley, 1985b, p. 22), and treating them otherwise leads to inconsistency. For
example, the fact that the ancient buildings of the forum can now be identified on
the ground has been taken to confirm details from the sources, such as which archaic
king of Rome built which building (Finley, 1985b, p. 22; Raaflaub, 1991, p. 15).
The naivete ofthat view is manifest. Boni's work may have been most revolutionary
in its de-emphasis of the documentary record. Maybe it is time to concede that
in some contexts it proves impossible to fruitfully integrate documentary and
archaeological data, simply because there is no proper contextual intersection for
these two types of data.
Old and new approaches are found in work elsewhere in the city of Rome,
usefully reviewed by Patterson (1992). Other major recent summaries are Coarelli
(1980, 1981, 1984, 1988), Roma Capitale (1983-1984), Roma: Archeologia nel
Centro (1985), UUrbs: Espace Urbain et Histoire (1987), Stambaugh (1988),
Quaderni di topografia (1988), Cristofani (1990), Richardson (1992), and Steinby
(1993).
The lion's share of archaeological work in Rome is still directed at monuments
and other features that have survived the centuries, and that have been documented,
excavated, or explored previously [accounting for the revived interest in 19th-
century excavators (Patterson, 1992, p. 187)]. Furthermore, aside from the forum,
Palatine, and a number of other locations, it is difficult to carry out wide-exposure
operations. Excavation must be done either around existing structures that cannot
be removed or in extremely cramped confines such as cellars.
What seems lacking in the archaeology of the capital is extensive exploration
of common residences and their patterning. No doubt, one reason is the virtual
absence of such evidence, so the focus is on standing remains. That imbalance is
being partially redressed by a concerted effort to systematize the cellar excavations
(Patterson, 1992, p. 188). Such excavations need to focus on deliberate sampling
of residential zones and careful artifact collection and analysis in conjunction with
associated techniques such as soil analysis. That kind of work will prosper when
complemented by investigations with wide domestic-context exposure, such as
found in the Vesuvian cities, especially Pompeii.

Pompeii

Archaeology in Pompeii has produced a spate of studies over the last decade.
In an art historical vein (a long tradition at Pompeii), but also discussing much
of the archaeological evidence up to his time, August Mau's synthesis of the last
century, Pompeii, Its Life and Art (1907), is still recommended. Regarding the
architecture, a major focus of much work, De Vos and De Vos (1982) provide a
good modern introduction to the site. Richardson's (1988) summary is difficult

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220 Storey

to follow bec
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1991), and h
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reflecting be

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Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual and Archaeological Data 221

That such an archaeological "dream site" exists is a myth, even at Pompeii. Allison
considered the artifact inventories "more of a nightmare" (1992, p. 49). Proper
recording of provenience for large inventories from contexts excavated in the 18th
and 19th centuries are totally lacking; early investigators even moved artifacts
around, putting them in places where they thought they should go, to display for
visitors and "reconstruct daily life." Allison (1992) and Bon (1997) both concluded
that the formation processes of the archaeological record at Pompeii are virtually
the same as at any other, less "ideal," archaeological site, and for the same reasons.
Hence the Pompeii premise is really only about the degree of preservation
at a site, not whether artifact distributions at such sites are better indicators of
behavior than at other sites. (Herculaneum is even a better preserved site than
Pompeii.) The real issue is postdepositional disturbance (Bon, 1997). Pompeii's
ash was easier to disturb (salvage operations began almost immediately with a
grant from the emperor Titus) than Herculaneum 's rock hard volcanic mud. A
similarly well-preserved site in El Salvador, Cerén, has been dubbed the "Pompeii
of the New World" (Roach, 1997). Is it time to turn the equation around and call
Pompeii and Herculaneum each a "Cerén of the Old World"? Excavations at Cerén
(Sheets, 1991, 1992, 1994) have demonstrated how good preservation can be used
rather than abused as it was at the Roman cities.
Two recent studies of Pompeii demonstrated the continued potential of that
site for elucidating aspects of Roman city life in Italy. Wallace-Hadrill's goal
was "unlocking the memories of the social language of the Roman house" (1994,
p. xv). The rationale that the houses of Pompeii were like a "text" in which aspects
of Roman social structure could be "read" is very much in line with current thinking
in the art historical approach to Roman archaeology (Clarke, 1991; Eisner, 1995;
Favro, 1993; Holliday, 1993). This work shows how new insights can be gleaned
from standing ruins, no matter how tainted by botched original excavations or
modern tampering.
Wallace-Hadrill addressed the nature of Pompeian households, explored the
relationships of the Pompeian social elite with the commercial factors of the city,
and defined ways in which social status was expressed in arrangement of domestic
space (Dunbabin, 1995, p. 389). At the heart of his method was statistical analysis
of house size (sampling 234 houses in three places), coupled with data on struc-
ture function, architectural elaboration, and decoration. Much information was
extracted from the simple four-tier typology that was constructed and judicious
use of relevant documentary sources.
The study also documented how Romans of all status groups and occupations
inhabited the same space (whether houses or the city itself). There was no overt
"zoning" in Roman cities, a fact first noted in the older "daily life" studies (e.g.,
Carcopino, 1940; Paoli, 1963) and recently demonstrated again by Laurence (1994,
1995). The social "classes" of Pompeii utilized the same space, in that the large
houses of the wealthy had shopfronts for poorer tradesmen or slaves built into their

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222 Storey

very fabrics
environment
between the
relations. In
social hierar
"private" had
According t
trates on the
ceptions are
calls for new
record under
(Bon and Jo
study of exis
with the fam
Two goals we
information .
earliest phas
The first go
electrical res
and faunal re
Lazar, 1997;
architectural
et ai, 1996;
A.D. 79 level.
The results identified a chronological sequence of five separate atrium houses
consolidated into two, then one, with shops and a workshop integrated into the
complex. Close interrelation of commercial/industrial and residential facilities is
an interesting aspect of the Pompeian evidence that is relevant to questions about
the Roman economy (see below). How involved in commerce were the Roman
elites (D'Arms, 1981)? What is the nature of small business and retailing in the
Roman economy? How were small industries organized in Roman cities (Joshel,
1992; Loane, 1979)? It is not clearly understood how the close mix of facilities
evolved in Roman cities. The diachronic examination of one block of Pompeii
helps elucidate the patterns that characterized the process of installing commer-
cial/industrial facilities. How houses were built, rebuilt, added to, and replaced
over the centuries prior to eruption also are issues that can only be illuminated by
new excavations (Carafa, 1997; Dunbabin, 1995, p. 329).
Allison's work on the artifactual evidence from Pompeii alluded to above
and Dyson's call for controlled artifactual recovery in the archaeology of Italian
cities (1992, pp. 165-166, 288, n. 148) provide further rationale for new exca-
vations. Artifact-oriented excavation elucidates socioeconomic patterns, but the
treasure-hunting, art-historical, and daily-life orientations of early excavations
were completely inadequate in that respect. Brave attempts to recover provenience

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Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual and Archaeological Data 223

information for the old excavations have met with considerable frustration
(Allison, 1992, 1994, 1997; Berry, 1997; Wallace-Hadrill, 1994, p. 88). One solu-
tion is to conduct new excavations to generate the right kind of modem data and
to make results available for refining future work through rapid publication (S. E.
Bon, personal communication, 1998).
A refreshing aspect of the archaeology of the Vesuvian cities is that the
archaeological record is so rich and the documentary record relatively sparse that
more attention is focused on the archaeology. In this one location, the balance
between the documentation and archaeology seems about right. However, that
is illusory. A problem similar to the previously discussed naïve attributions of
early structures to particular kings comes up; because we know certain terms from
ancient texts, for example cubiculum (usually translated "bedroom"), does not
mean that the Pompeians applied that term to particular rooms in the archaeological
record. Nor is it certain that Romans thought of bedrooms in the same way that
we do. Wallace-Hadrill was even more emphatic (1994, p. 6):

First we must relate literary texts and archaeological remains in a more fruitful way. The
structures and artifacts we disinter spoke to the Roman user in ways that are not fully self-
explanatory; they made specific impressions, evoked moods, activated, even subconsciously,
associations. Every guidance from contemporary texts as to how the Roman user responded
needs to be brought to bear. However, the sources, notably Vitruvius, have instead been
ransacked for labels, as if to designate an area triclinium [dining room] or oecus [living
room] or diaeta [living, room] were to explain it.

An unfortunate result of the interaction between text and archaeology is fre-


quently the view that merely citing the former is thought sufficient to explain
the latter. Allison concluded that both textual and archaeological evidence are
so fragmented and unrelated that the information provided is frequently incon-
clusive (1994, p. 89). However, the archaeological data sets from Pompeii and
Herculaneum are so rich that, as with the new archaeological data from Latium,
they can stand on their own.

ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE ROMAN ECONOMY

Regarding the integration of documentary and archaeological data, few areas


of Roman studies are as relevant as the Roman economy because the contributions
of text and artifacts are relatively well balanced. Debate about the Roman econ-
omy centers on the attempt to characterize it as either "minimalist-primitivist" [as
a preindustrial state that redistributed tribute, and had a simple local economy;
only elites engaged in the long-distance trade of luxuries - the position of Bücher
(1901), Finley (1973, 1985a), and Jones (1974)] or "modernist-market" [with a
complex regional and local economy integrated by a market orientation and at-
tribution of rational economic motives - the view of Meyer (1924), Mommsen
(1908), Rostovtzeff (1957), and Yeo (1952)]. The dichotomy is probably

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224 Storey

epistemolog
debate was "
that had been
responded ab
Similarly, t
(Dalton, 197
LeClair and
equally limit
ing, rational
society is ap
that rational
only, and tha
man intercha
1968b, pp. 5-
appreciation
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Consequentl
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Wallace-Hadr
more, the su
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(1973, 1985a)
tivist positio
attempt to c
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of Pompeii p
Wallace-Had
Nevertheless
interest [see
evidence has
cial sites and
uity can com
p. 146). The
pivotal (Goi
Tomber, 199
amphorae se
1989). The m
to sustain th
Underwater
already and w
Roman Empi

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Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual and Archaeological Data 225

1992a,b; Paterson, 1982; Peacock and Williams, 1986; Tchernia, 1986; Woolf,
1992; relevant contributions appear regularly in the International Journal of
Nautical Archaeology). Many shipwrecks, such as that of Plemmirio B off Eastern
Sicily from the 3rd century A.D. (Gibbins, 1988, 1989, 1991; Gibbins and Parker,
1986) or the "Isis" in deep water off northwest Sicily, about A.D. 400 (McCann
and Freed, 1994) seem reasonably typical. Shipwreck ceramic assemblages indi-
cate that long-distance trade in pottery was common in the Roman Empire, and it
was not confined to trade in finewares (Gibbins, 1991, pp. 239-240). Citing ship-
wreck evidence that identifies common pottery as an important part of cargoes,
Pucci argues: "that ancient long distance trade concerned only luxury goods is
quite simply untrue" (1983, p. 111). Similarly, even second- and third-class wine
vintages were traded all over the Mediterranean (Carandini, 1991).
Olive oil is also a commodity for which the evidence of production, trade,
and distribution indicates economic mechanisms more developed than centrally di-
rected tribute and redistribution (Mattingly and Hitchner, 1995, pp. 198-204, with
references). The North African Kasserine survey previously mentioned (Hitchner
and Mattingly, 1991; Mattingly, 1996; Mattingly and Hitchner, 1995) revealed a
densely occupied countryside: in an area of only 3.5 sq km, 20 settlement sites with
10 olive presses produced an estimated 40,000 to 80,000 liters per year from the
3rd to 5th centuries A.D. To Mattingly, results of the Kasserine and other surveys
in Africa indicate the province enjoyed an "oil boom" (1996, p. 235), confirming
the old adage that the Middle Ages began when the last drop of African oil for
lamps ran out and candles had to be lit instead. Oil was hardly a luxury item, and
its widespread distribution suggests some economic complexity.
These data are, however, less conclusive than may at first appear. The ar-
chaeological evidence of ceramics is not about the primary cargoes of trade, but
a secondary product Pottery evidence is treated as a proxy for the primary trade,
which is thought to be in foodstuffs. So far, the assumption seems supportable in
that there is a high correlation between agriculturally prosperous regions and pot-
tery production zones. But whether pottery can serve to indicate trade in luxuries,
manufactured goods, or raw materials is debatable (Fulford, 1987, pp. 69-72).
Parker (1990b, p. 328), in a bar chart showing the low proportion of wine amphora
cargoes as opposed to the total number of wrecks per period, graphically illustrated
that "[t]he statistics for the empire emphasize how insignificant the wine amphoras
of any area were in the overall picture of maritime traffic" (1990b, p. 329). Purcell
(1985, p. 10) noted that the totality of evidence on wine production is so disparate
that "evidence of the amphora trade must be unreliable." His proposed solution was
that wine was carried in other containers, chiefly skins and barrels, that leave no
archaeological trace. Differential archaeological visibility in the cargoes of ships
and other transport methods may thus be skewing the evidence.
Despite new studies purporting to show similarities to modem economic
systems (Carandini, 1983a,b, 1991; Love, 1986, 1991; Pucci, 1983; Rathbone,
1983, 1991), it is still possible to describe Roman commerce, trade, and exchange

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226 Storey

in "primitivi
Finley, 1985a
of high levels
"free" market
Latin term an
nature of cera
for foodstuff
on the large
independent
demonstratin
The annona
tary (Middlet
large quantiti
was in the ha
market mech
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the non-mone
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(Earle, 1994, w
independent t
shifting produ
commodities
leftovers on t
As intriguin
tive or seigni
of Arrotine T
Fülle, 1997, w
trol. It is diff
while depende
far-flung est
panded to the
(Middleton,
Thus the vi
rejects both m
introduced th
capitalism, Lo
the ancient e
and slaves fro
state apparatu
while aspects

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Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual and Archaeological Data 227

excellent candidates for exploitation in keeping with the mechanisms of "political'*


capitalism.
In the private sphere, Carandini (1983a) discussed Roman villa management
as embedded in a "bi-sectoriaF economy in which land, labor, and maintenance
production were generally not accounted, but the cash-cropping sector was (along
the lines of Kula's model of medieval Polish estates). The two-sector approach
does suggest the same mix of primitive and modernist aspects suggested here.
Finley (1985a, pp. 180-181, 246-247, notes 21-23), however, criticized this line
of reasoning on the grounds that Kula's models were applicable only to feudal
contexts in which the labor of serfs is essentially free because they were not
supported at the landlord's expense, unlike the slaves and seasonal wage labor of
antiquity, which were. But the suggestion of dual thinking about the accounting
of large estates in antiquity perhaps should not be dismissed so lightly.
In contrast, Rathbone (1991) demonstrated how the Appianus estate in Roman
Egypt (known from a papyrus source called the Heroninus archive) did show overall
high levels of rationality in surplus production directly aimed at the market, and
even accounting of the separate sectors of the estate. As Bagnali noted (1993,
p. 256), some Hellenistic Egyptian data noted comparably high levels of rationality,
but neither that nor the Heroninus information may be typical even for Roman
Egypt However, the Egyptian cases do show "the limits of the possible, the kind
of management practiced by those with the means and experience to try and get the
most out of their estates." Subsistence as opposed to cash-crop agriculture in one
place may have been run along loosely dual lines; accounting and administration
in another region may have been more closely monitored. The degree of primitive
versus modern features in local economies in the empire reasonably should be
expected to have varied from region to region.
Weber's work is relevant for studying the Roman economy for the renewed
interest it sparks in the applicability of the "consumer city" model to the Roman
world (Finley, 1977, remains the best introduction; Engels, 1990; Rich and Wallace-
Hadrill, 1991; Cornell and Lomas, 1995; Parkins, 1997b). Finley (1977) attributed
to Bücher-Sombart- Weber the notion of the city of antiquity as a "consumer/
parasite," with four chief characteristics: ancient cities did not functionally separate
town and country (Bücher), they depended on external agricultural labor for sub-
sistence (Sombart), and they housed consumers deriving income from rural rents
rather than commerce (Weber). Finley added that only petty commodity production
occurred (Whittaker, 1990, p. 110). Whittaker has twice explored this construct,
concluding both times that, although problematic, the model of consumer city in
antiquity still best fits the evidence (1990, 1995). Mattingly countered (1997) that
Whittaker's own treatment called into question the utility of the model.
Parkins (1997a) complained that the consumer-city model is treated solely as
an economic model when Weber envisioned it equally as a sociopolitical one. In
an interesting turnabout, Parkins suggested that the model be updated by regarding

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228 Storey

the city "as


holds" (1997a
origin the of
Life in Class
of the debat
for "househo
economic ins
the consume
approach is f
the model is
formulation.

The recent generally friendly questioning of the consumer-city model


(Wallace-Hadrill, 1991b; Parkins, 1997a) does not, in the end, amount to a co-
herent paradigm. It may be chiefly useful in the same way as using the Annales
approach: it leads to innovative investigations and discussions. The consumer-
city model still seems useful in the same way that Finley's primitivism served a
purpose: for checking rampantly unrealistic modernist reconstructions of ancient
economic processes.
If nothing else, the consumer-city model is a pivotal counter to the still all-too-
widespread belief that the Roman world was a "world of cities " The Roman Empire
was a typical preindustrial agrarian economy, with the bulk of the population living
in the countryside, practicing subsistence farming (Lloyd, 1991). Work going
"beyond the consumer city" model (Parkins, 1997b) is needed and welcome, but
should not lose sight of that fact.
Finally, the notions of core and periphery (Wallerstein, 1974a, 1980, 1989)
are applicable to the Roman economy. Core (or center) and periphery models have
been invoked to clarify the complex trade patterns seen in the provincial and ship-
wreck archaeological data (Fulford, 1987, 1992; Haselgrove, 1987; Hedeager,
1987; Nash, 1987; Williams, 1989), including forays into the applicability of
Wallerstein's world-systems model to the ancient Mediterranean world (Carandini,
1986; Champion, 1989; Shipley, 1993; Woolf, 1990).
A world system is a "unit with a single division of labor and multiple cultural
systems" (Wallerstein, 1974b, p. 390) that unites a large population into a stable
entity. If there is a common political system (with numerous tributary cells), it
is a world empire; without one, it is a world economy. A world empire requires
long-distance trade in more than just luxuries and requires that the central state's
economic hegemony extends beyond its political boundaries. Wallerstein (1974b,
p. 39 1 ) himself considered Rome a world empire, but not a world economy because
of the minor role played by merchants and luxury long-distance trade, thus aligning
himself with the minimalist-primitivist position. He viewed the Roman world
empire as arising out of a world economy. Presumably, he meant that the Hellenistic
world, which was not politically unified, was a world economy because it was at

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Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual and Archaeological Data 229

least partially integrated by the common economic practices of Greek culture.


Whether or not that is accurate (see Shipley, 1993, for a discussion of world
systems for the Hellenistic world), it would seem odd to assert that the world
out of which the Roman Empire arose was a world economy but ceased to be one
with Roman political unification. (It also seems likely that Wallerstein changed his
earliest formulation of the model, arguing later that the only true world economy
was the capitalist one arising in 16th-century Europe.)
With regard to at least one commodity, Rome's economic hegemony could
be said to have extended beyond the empire's borders: slaves were taken from the
"barbarian periphery" in great numbers by means of a well-developed slave trade
(Harris, 1980b; Nash, 1987). However, Scheidel (1997) has recently questioned
the scale of this external slave trade, arguing on purely demographic grounds that
the maintenance of the Roman slave population depended on home breeding of
slaves. Roman goods made it to Scandinavia (Hansen, 1989) and India (Begley and
De Puma, 1992), while Pliny the Elder complained that Rome's trade deficit with
India amounted to 100 million sesterces per year. Nevertheless, Finley (1985a,
p. 132) had doubts that this comment was anything more than moralizing. He does
not take it to mean that the Roman economy greatly altered these local economies,
which is what Wallerstein 's world economy certainly requires.
The issue comes down to the central question regarding the Roman economy,
and one in which only archaeological data will answer Was the long-distance
trade in the Roman Empire only one of luxuries? The answer appears to be "no";
trade was not confined to luxuries. However, that conclusion does not close the
debate because, as Woolf (1990, p. 52) pointed out, it is necessary to explore how
the trade was tied into the agrarian base and identify its precise relation to the po-
litical structure, the very questions raised by Whittaker (1985) and Finley (1985a).
Furthermore, Schneider (1977) and Blanton and Feinman (1984) proposed modi-
fications of Wallerstein 's model on the grounds that the criterion of long-distance
trade in luxuries only is too limiting, and that trade in preciosities was a powerful
factor in determining the essential characteristics of many complex sociopolitical
systems. Even in the scaled down extent of trade in luxuries only, the ability of
the core areas to prosper at the expense of the peripheries, which is obviously
an important criterion in Wallerstein 's Marxist model, is manifest (Blanton and
Feinman, 1984, pp. 678-679).
Carandini's (1986) Marxist-modernist view of trade in the empire clearly
identified the Roman Empire as a world economy, possessing specialist divisions
of labor by region, different modes of production in core and periphery, and core
production possibly changing to periphery, for example when Italy's production
gave way to North Africa's. However, none of his characteristics are conclusive
indicators of a world economy versus what one might find in a world empire,
as Woolf (1990, p. 53) argued. Woolf added that merely demonstrating that the
Roman economy was not primitive does not entail accepting it as a world economy

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230 Storey

in Wallerste
For all its co
but with gre
can or shoul
arguable (Wo
now emergi
economy is
economy cou
some fashion.
To speak about "the Roman economy" as if it were a unity, however, is a prob-
lem. The economy of the Roman world was a mixture of many elements: oikos,
neighborhood (Parkins' "mini-economies," 1997a, p. 89), and larger sectors such
as city, hinterland, region, and empire. The study of Roman coinage has not con-
clusively established whether the Roman economy was "monetarized" or not, but
at no time did the Roman government collect taxes exclusively in coin everywhere
in the empire (Crawford, 1985; Greene, 1986; Howgego, 1992; Duncan- Jones,
1994). Consequently, what happened in and between each constituent element of
the economy is the important question. Whether the major process in Roman eco-
nomic life was redistributive or market can be hazarded, but more work on the
subject must be done. Archaeology's role in providing the data will be pivotal.
Morley (1996) recently discussed the issue of Rome and its relation to its
hinterland, taking all Italy as affected by the presence of the capital and its economic
demands. He concluded that if a prime tenet of the world-systems formulation is
deliberate marginalization and maintenance of an underdeveloped economy in the
peripheries, then Rome was not a world economy in Wallerstein's sense (Morley,
1996, pp. 157-158). Because Rome's needs were not infinite, the stimulation of
the Italian countryside to produce for Rome's market benefited both the rural and
urban sectors of Italy, in much the same way that Hopkins (1980) argued that
one effect of Roman taxation was to stimulate local production; taxes paid in the
provinces were returned via payments to Rome's frontier armies who spent them
there, allowing provincials to pay more taxes.
For the empire at large, the provincial data could shed light on this issue, but
that is too large a topic to address here. The issue of the previously mentioned
production of Arretine Terra Sigillata ceramic tableware is relevant, however,
because it was the closest entity in the Roman world to a major industry, even per-
haps showing signs of branch manufacturing in the provinces, closer to the market.
If the effect of the core in underdeveloping the periphery applied also to private
businesses, then one would expect to see centralized control of the provincial
branches by the parent "corporations." Neither Terra Sigillata (Fülle, 1997) nor
the terracotta lamp (Harris, 1980a) industries show centralized organization or
control. Fülle (1997) argued convincingly that the Arretine industry was not one
based on modern managerial control principles and high amounts of division of

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Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual and Archaeological Data 231

labor (cf. Guéry, 1990, basically in agreement). He argued for a system of "nucle-
ated workshops" in which the modernist terms of "manufactories/* "firms," and
"branches" have no place. The constraints of distance, travel time, and slow com-
munication may have made it difficult for the Roman administration (or private
businesses) to manage local peripheral economies sufficiently to "underdevelop"
them.
That is not to say that the Roman presence lacked a harsh and exploitative
dimension economically. One example suffices: Tchernia (1983, 1986) has con-
vincingly demonstrated that the 2nd- and lst-century-B.C. boom in long-distance
Italian wine trade to Gaul was based on Romans' ability to transform wine from a
little regarded beverage into a commodity of conspicuous consumption in Gallic
elite competition. In exchange, Romans received metals and slaves, thus us-
ing wine "as a means of exploiting the frontier provinces and the fringe of the
barbarian world" (quoted in Parker, 1990b, p. 325). The "archaeology of resis-
tance" (Kurchin, 1995, with references) should thus come to grips with how local
economies were successfully or unsuccessfully integrated into the Roman eco-
nomic system, in much the same way that Millett (1990) delineated how local
British social systems fit into the Roman scheme of occupation. Woolf issued a
challenge for a still needed "rigorous archaeological demonstration of a world
economy" (1990, p. 53). Roman data may well prove the best candidate for the
task of meeting that challenge.
The debate on the economy will obviously continue. The Roman economy
was clearly not a primitive one. Mercantile capitalistic models that divorce market
forces from the primary grounding of the economy in a political-military frame-
work probably will not explain the Roman economy (Finley, 1985a; Fulford, 1987,
1992; Woolf, 1992), despite the popularity of such models among some scholars,
especially (interestingly enough) Italian archaeologists working from an explic-
itly Marxist orientation (Carandini, 1980; Giardina, 1986; Giardina and Schiavone,
1981; cf. de Ste. Croix, 1981; Dyson, 1995; Konstan, 1986; Rathbone, 1983).

CONCLUSIONS

Roman archaeology is as healthy today as ever. Much new information fro


primary data is coming to light. New approaches to old sites can be found in t
archaeology of the Roman heartland. Theory is not the outsider that it was amo
classical archaeologists a decade or two ago, although a substantial number of
classical archaeologists (with Romanists numbering their fair share) continue
show little interest in new archaeological approaches (Dyson, 1993).
At the outset, a classical archaeologist's example of hypothesis testing
locating the sundial of Augustus in the Campus Martius at Rome - was p
sented. That example should be compared with Dyson and Rowlands* concept

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232 Storey

of hypothes
Rowland, 199
tlement at n
Roman perio
Romans to h
ily defended
amenities and
results sugge
to remain in traditional locations.

There is a significant difference between these two examples: the horologium


example sought to confirm a particular event attributed to a known individual;
the Sardinian example addressed general cultural processes. If the standard of
significance for a piece of archaeological research is "what does this tell us about
culture x?" then locating Augustus's horologium does not serve that function.
Such a finding is more in the realm of satisfying curiosity about things associated
with "Great Men." According to Flannery (1982), archaeology should be done
for the satisfaction of curiosity, but surely he meant illuminating more general
cultural processes rather than confirming particular events in the ethnohistoric
sources.

The main theme of this review has been the interplay between t
chaeology. The above contrast in approaches to hypothesis testing s
an important prediction about the potential utility of the archaeolog
and Rome has yet to come to pass. Snodgrass credited David Clarke w
that better-documented cultures held great potential for informing a
about the material record in "vital" ways (Snodgrass, 1987, p. 8). It
that these "vital" ways lie in providing archaeologists with a fuller, de
of cultural processes in complex societies. The large corpus of writ
tion from a well-documented society like Rome can provide Binfor
range theory" and bridging arguments, or the context for Hodder'
archaeology" for interpreting the archaeological record. The proble
archaeology so far has been the preponderance of seeking one-to-on
dences between text and archaeology, instead of acknowledging and w
their radically different provenances.
Achieving the goal of making the two types of information work
will take time and effort, but we are moving in that direction. One
has emerged in this review: the most progress has come about when
have aggressively contextualized the written material vis-à-vis the ar
record (cf. Adams, 1984; Bennet, 1984). That process has usually ent
very least a downplaying and, in some cases, the total ignoring of the wr
This is well summarized by Raaflaub, a historian who discusses earl

I cannot ... see how ... we could start from any other position than serious and de
skepticism [of the written record]. This conclusion will probably not be popula

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Archaeology and Roman Society: Integrating Textual and Archaeological Data 233

not allow easy compromises. . . the only sound method is to distrust [the sources] unless
their statements can be confirmed or made plausible by independent evidence" (1991,
p. 22-23).

This call for independent checking echoes Kosso's (1995) delineation of the need to
establish logical and epistemic independence between textual and archaeological
evidence. The skeptical attitude seems applicable to many of the studies discussed
in this review. The written record was downplayed in Bietti Sestieri's study of
Osteria dell' Osa, Holloway's review of early Rome (and relevant to other early
Rome studies, Ammerman, 1997), and the Gubbio Basin project. The generally
accepted text-based view was extensively modified by archaeological data in most
of the field survey projects (especially Samnium), the archaeology of Rome itself
(need it be pointed out that archaeologists have never found any evidence whatso-
ever for one of the central "historical" events in early Roman history, the complete
destruction of the city by the Gauls in 390 B.C.?- Raaflaub, 1991, p. 11, n. 24),
the attempt to identify structure function for Pompeii, and the overall view of the
Roman economy. [Carandini (1983b, p. 146) enjoyed the anecdote that African
Red Slip ware, the choicest ceramic ware of the later Roman Empire, which can be
found from Scotland to Axum in Ethiopia, was not mentioned in a single written
source.] Finally, I single out works that have made the most impression: Coarelli
on the Roman Forum (1982, 1985), Dyson on rural Italian society (1992), and
Smith on early Rome and Latium (1996). I have done so because they used the
archaeological and documentary data in tandem to paint a picture of Roman soci-
ety in broad terms, instead of seeking to confirm particular historical events in the
archaeological record. In all this work we are witnessing the process of Roman
archaeology liberating itself from being the "handmaid of history."
Roman archaeology bears uncanny resemblance to the state of Chinese ar-
chaeology noted in the recent review of Falkenhausen (1993), who also spoke of
the "transformation of archaeology into the virtual handmaiden of antiquarianist
historiography" throughout Chinese intellectual history (1993, p. 843). There was
even a Chinese Livy (Sima Qian c. 145-80 B.C.) whose method and influence on
later history was astoundingly similar to his Roman counterpart's. Falkenhausen's
conclusions seem extremely apt for Roman archaeology: "It would be foolish -
indeed, impossible - to conduct archaeological research in willful disregard of
[textual] evidence. But there is a difference between making judicious use of texts
in the planning and execution of archaeological research, and devising such re-
search entirely along historiographical lines" (1993: 847).
It does seem that progress has been made in Roman archaeology, amply
demonstrated by the studies reviewed here. For Roman archaeology, the process
of establishing a proper logical independence for archaeology has been a long
time in developing, mostly due to how the study of the Mediterranean world by
means of philology and texts developed. The challenge for Roman archaeology is
to continue into the next century the salutary trends noted in this review.

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234 Storey

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank Gary Feinman and T. Douglas Price for the orig
invitation to submit this article and their subsequent assistance. This analy
benefited from the thoughtful comments of James G. Enloe, John C. Whi
Brian Aldredge, Sara Bon, Thomas H. Charlton, Stephen L. Dyson, Paul B. H
Jr., Mary K. Whelan, three anonymous reviewers, and the technical editors of
Special thanks to Sara Bon and Rick Jones for providing drafts of their bo
Pompeii prior to publication. Thanks to Jay Semel and the Obermann Cent
Advanced Studies, University of Iowa, for making available facilities that a
my work on this analysis. Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Andrea
for her tireless editorial efforts. Any remaining errors are my responsibility

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