Janet DeLaine— 1998 James R. Wiseman Book Award
The Archaeological Institute of America is pleased to present the James R. Wiseman Book Award for 1998 to Janet Delaine for her book The Baths of Caracalla: A Study in the Design, Construction, and Economics of Large-Scale Building Projects in Imperial Rome (JRA Suppl. 25, Portsmouth 1997).
This book is a landmark study of a major imperial Roman building-the Baths of Caracalla-by a scholar who is a trained civil engineer as well as a classicist-historian and an archaeologist. A combination of disciplinary modes are used in this volume to provide a truly integrated picture of Roman public architecture-its design process, the economics of its construction, and the social and political implications of its existence.
This is not a straightforward architectural analysis of the entire bath complex, but rather a discussion of aspects of the project at large. Clearly written and superbly illustrated with plans drawn by the author, its detailed discussion of labor and economics provides insight into the building industry of Severan Rome, including information on how and where constructional materials were obtained, calculated estimates of the quantities of materials used and manpower employed, as well as timetables for the schedule of construction— questions that are not traditionally addressed by scholars.
Delaine's work demonstrates a totally new and exceptionally promising method of analyzing standing Roman buildings, one that breaks new ground in the examination of ancient architecture. This book not only changes the nature of the discipline, but it also raises the hurdles for anyone doing research in architectural and social history.