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On the Edge of Empire

Society in the south-west of England during the first century BC to fifth century AD

Siân Alyce Thomas
Publication Year:
224 pages, Illustrated throughout in colour and black and white. 81 figures and 37 tables
Sub-series name:
Archaeology of Roman Britain, 5
BAR number:


This volume explores the relationship between people and material culture in the south-west peninsula from the first century BC to the fifth century AD. This area has often been ignored in the narratives of Britannia and the application of traditional theoretical models to the archaeology of the region has perpetuated the idea that it was largely ‘un-Romanised’. In recent years new theoretical concepts have been developed which recognise that interactions in the provinces were far more complex than the simplistic dichotomy of Roman versus Native. More emphasis is also being placed on artefacts and their use in the creation of identity. This work builds on this and explores the relationship between material culture and the creation of identity. This is achieved through the analysis of the ceramics, personal adornment items and coins found in the region, gathered from excavation reports and from data recorded through the Portable Antiquities Scheme. The analysis sheds new light on the role these objects played in the renegotiation of identity that resulted from the Roman conquest.

Siân Alyce Thomas undertook her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Bristol in 2004 and 2007. She then went on to work in commercial archaeology before starting her PhD research at Cardiff University in 2013, which she completed in 2018. Siân currently works as a Project Officer for Archaeology Wales Ltd and has worked on several of their large excavation projects over the last few years.

‘The south-west is a very important region but has been relatively neglected. The importance relates to the pre-Roman contacts in this region and the disparate ways in which its communities developed. The book communicates an excellent study of discrepant experiences which will bring the archaeology of the region into a national and international perspective.’ Professor Richard Hingley, Durham University

Introduction (B667_Thomas_9781407358468_-_Introduction.pdf, 283 Kb) [Download]

Table of Contents (B667_Thomas_9781407358468_-_ToC.pdf, 214 Kb) [Download]