The Transition to Late Antiquity on the Lower Danube: Excavations and Survey at Dichin, a Late Roman to early Byzantine Fort and a Roman Aqueduct [Hardback]

Andrew Poulter (Author)

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ISBN: 9781785709586 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2019 | Language: English 904p, H297 x W210 (mm)

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The Transition to Late Antiquity on the Lower Danube


Excavations on the site of this remarkable fort in northern Bulgaria (1996–2005) formed part of a long-term programme of excavation and intensive field survey, aimed at tracing the economic as well as physical changes which mark the transition from the Roman Empire to the Middle Ages, a programme which commenced with the excavation and full publication of the early Byzantine fortress/city of Nicopolis ad Istrum.

The analysis of well-dated finds and their full publication provides a unique data-base for the late Roman period in the Balkans; they include metal-work, pottery (local and imported fine ware), glass, copper alloy finds, inscriptions and dipinti (on amphorae) as well as quantified environmental reports on animal, birds and fish with specialist reports on the archaeobotanical material, glass analysis and querns.

The report also details the results of site-specific intensive survey, a new method developed for use in the rich farmland of the central Balkans. In addition, there is a tailed report on a most remarkable and well-preserved aqueduct which employed the largest siphon ever discovered in the Roman Empire.

This publication will provide a substantial database of material and environmental finds, an invaluable resource for the region and for the Roman Empire: material invaluable for studies which seek to place the late Roman urban and military identity within its regional and extra-regional economic setting.

Table of Contents

Summary and conclusions
1. Area C, the east gate
(A. Poulter)
2. Area D, two storeyed houses/barracks south of street 1
(A. Poulter)
3. Area E, the granaries, store rooms, the western defences
(A. Poulter)
4. Area G, a 5th century building
(A. Poulter)
5. Area H, the church
(A. Poulter)
6. Area K, houses/barracks north of street 1
(A. Poulter)
7. Area F, the north-western quarter and the defences
(V. Dinchev, translated by A. Poulter)
8. The western aqueduct for Nicopolis ad Istrum
(I. Tsurov, translated by A. Poulter)
9. Areas A and B, the Roman aqueduct
(A. Poulter)
10. The late Roman and early Byzantine coins
(P. Guest)
11. Small finds, excluding iron and bone
(E. Ghey))
12. The ironwork
(W. Manning)
13. Finds of bone and horn
(P. Vladkova, translated by A. Poulter)
14. Rotary querns, rubbing stones and a stone bowl
(S. Watts)
15. Vessel glass
(A. Cholakova, translated by A. Poulter)
16. Through the looking glass: an analysis of the glass finds
(T. Smith)
17. The lamps
(V. Swan)
18. The prehistoric pottery
(T. Hristova, translated by A. Poulter)
19. The Dipinti and Graffiti
(R. Tomlin)
20. Late Roman and early Byzantine pottery
(V. Swan)
21. The plant remains
(P. Grinter)
22. The fish bones
(R. Parks)
23. Mammal and bird bones
(C. Johnstone and A. Hammon)
24. Human remains
(C. Johnstone)
25. Geomorphic investigations in and around the fort and in the floodplain of the river Rositsa
(H. Neuman)
26. A new approach to site-specific intensive survey
(A. Poulter)
27. The field survey: sites and their interpretation
(A. Poulter)
28. The late Roman building and settlement structures in the Rositsa valley: the geophysical results
(M. Boyd)
29. The Bulgarian field walking pottery
(B. Hurman)
Appendix: the fabrics and thin-sections

Reviews & Quotes

"Excellently illustrated, the near-900 pages of dense and detailed discussion of archaeological data that make up The Transition to Late Antiquity… are an important source of information for developments in central Bulgaria from the 2nd to the 6th/7th centuries AD. The finds discussions, presented to a standard only rarely found in excavation reports, make it an essential tool for those studying the material culture of this period in the region (and beyond). The addition of an extensively studied and now well-published site to the wider Yantra Valley region, which includes sites such as Nicopolis ad Istrum, Iatrus-Krivina and Novae-Svistov, makes this part of the world a key area for our understanding of the Roman and late antique period on the Lower Danube — and the volume under review forms a key addition to any (strong) bookshelf on the Roman and late-Roman Balkans."
Christoph Rummel
Medieval Archaeology (05/10/2022)

"The author and his team of collaborators are to be congratulated for contributing not just a report and challenging analysis from their fieldwork, but for creating a major and enduring resource for future comparative research into the material culture and history of the region."
James Crow
Antiquity (05/08/2020)

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