Trinity College Dublin
Robert Emmet Theatre
The Discovery Programme is proud to announce the first international interdisciplinary conference that will consider how communities in Ireland engaged with the Roman world. We have invited leading academics from Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Denmark and the USA to present papers from across the subjects of Archaeology, History, Classics, Earth Sciences, Iron Age studies and 'Celtic' Studies, covering the Iron Age through to Late Antiquity.
Recent contemporary dialogues in archaeology have highlighted the fluid nature of both the identities and materialities of those living and dying within and beyond the formal frontiers of the Roman Empire. Through the work of scholars such as Richard Hingley, David Mattingly and Andrew Gardner it is now recognised that concepts such as emulation and engagement, and reception and resistance, are as much to do with individual agency, opportunity and access as any grand overarching narrative of wholesale 'Romanization'. New social mores vied with local traditions to produce an eminently variable and localized Roman-ness both within and beyond the Roman provinces. To understand what it was to become Roman, we have to consider the layers of subtle negotiation and transformation taking place at the level of the individual, their community and the landscapes in which they lived and died.
What is remarkable and only recently understood is that despite the monumentalization of military might and control, both in northern Britain and along the Rhine frontier, these physical and ideological barriers did not stop the movement of people. Roman material is widely distributed beyond all of the frontiers of the Roman Empire, in areas that never fell within the territorium of Rome itself.
Until quite recently Roman material at Irish sites was widely regarded as anomolous or intrusive within the traditional archaeological narrative of the later Iron Age. With no expectation of contexts that might hold Roman evidence, readily identifiable material such as Samian ware, fibulae, coins and glass have been classified as 'intrusive' and often considered irrelevant to dating sequences at sites. More recent excavations, contemporary research and more recent finds have, however, prompted a reconsideration of Ireland's engagement with the Roman administration in the western provinces. The LIARI project was designed to investigate fully this formative period in early Irish history and has forged new collaborative research with leading scholars both inside and outside Ireland. The conference will provide an extraordinary opportunity for us re-evaulate the settlement, societies and economy of 'Ireland in a Roman world'.