Early Roman London revisited: an archaeobotanical investigation of its economy and land management practices with reference to the Bloomberg site

Francis, Robert (2017) Early Roman London revisited: an archaeobotanical investigation of its economy and land management practices with reference to the Bloomberg site. MSc(Res) thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Waterlogged plant macrofossils were analysed from 15 samples from the Roman phases of the Bloomberg site in the Walbrook valley, London. Over 23000 seeds belonging to over 100 taxa, including cereals, food plants, exotics and weed species were identified. The assemblage represents an important contribution to our understanding of landscape management practices, the diet and economy of the area and the town during the Early Roman period. In particular this dissertation provides evidence of the large scale dumping of so called ‘stabling waste’ across the site in an effort to raise the ground level. By applying and critically evaluating an autecological methodology to the identified species, it was possible to determine the constituents of the dumped waste revealing that it was in most cases a mixture of animal bedding, meadow hay, crop processing by-products and nitrophilous ruderal weeds. The research also provides an insight into the inhabitants’ diet, with evidence of exotic imports being present from the earliest recorded stage of Roman occupation as well as potential locally grown introductions, though whether these were intentional or invasive is still unclear. The results also indicate the potential reliance on foraged food. Finally the research attempted to provide evidence of the local wild flora growing in the area, a difficult task in light of the mixed assemblage material. The tentative results show a mix of river and riverbank species that probably were growing along the Walbrook. The area would also have had small groups of dense thorny scrub trees. As well as a variety of nitrophilous wild species growing untouched on the midden material.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (MSc(Res))
Supervisors: Livarda, Alexandra
Bowden, William
Subjects: C Auxiliary sciences of history > CC Archaeology
D History - General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 47939
Depositing User: Francis, Robert
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2018 14:28
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2021 12:05
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/47939

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