Institute of Archaeology
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Susheela Crease

An investigation into the practice of deposition in watery contexts in the British pre-Roman Iron Age to Roman transition

The main aim of my research is to examine the extent to which the placing of metalwork and other associated items into watery areas continued and altered during the pre-Roman Iron Age to Roman transition, specifically in Britain. Extant studies on the subject of water and specially-intended deposits made into a watery medium have focused on the Neolithic through to the Bronze Age/Early Iron Age period across North West Europe, where archaeologists have shown an interest in how past peoples utilised their elemental world (Fleming, 2006; Stevens, 2008; Bradley, 1988 and 1998; York, 2002). However, to date, little work has been carried out on if and how traditions of deposition continued and changed as Roman society began to influence the culture of the indigenous Britons. The phase of transition (roughly 100 BC to AD 200) has been chosen as the specific period of study, with the main research questions focussed on changes in context, object type deposited and prominence of this tradition with the onset of the Roman invasion.

The area of study has been divided into two comparable study zones: the Severn-Thames Axis in southern Britain and the Solway-Forth Axis covering northern England and southern Scotland. These two contrasting zones were selected owing to their physical differences between lowland and upland contexts as well and their cultural and political variations with the more heavily populated southern area, which eventually became the Civil Zone contrasting with the more sparsely populated northern area, which went on to become the Military Zone once the Roman armies arrived and settled. From within each of these two zones 20-25 sites have been selected as key sites to conduct in-depth research through the use of site reports and, if required, archive materials. All data has been stored in an Access database and displayed in map form through the use of ArcMap.

Key theoretical themes explored in this investigation include: phenomenology, liminality, discard, legacy and transition.

Supervisors

 Educational background

  • BA, Geography, UCL, 2005
  • MA, Archaeology, University of Nottingham, 2006
  • Gold and bronze torcs recovered from the Snettisham Hoard, Norfolk and the Witham Shield recovered from the River Witham at Fiskerton, Lincolnshire
  • Gold and bronze torcs recovered from the Snettisham Hoard, Norfolk and the Witham Shield recovered from the River Witham at Fiskerton, Lincolnshire

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