Nicky Garland

Territorial Oppida and the transformation of landscape and society in south-eastern Britain from BC 300 to 100 AD.

Territorial oppida, defined as large-scale ditched sites, are an often discussed but poorly understood phenomena of the Late Iron Age/Roman transition period in south-eastern Britain. Previous research has attempted to compare known examples, however, classification and interpretation remain problematic. While it is understood that the emergence of oppida formed an integral part of a range of changes occurring in Late Iron Age south-east Britain, our knowledge of how they were used and for what purpose(s) remains limited.

This thesis aims to advance the study of oppida by developing an innovative theoretical and methodological approach to examine their social structure on multiple scales (people, groups, regions). An understanding of the development of British oppida research, in parallel to considering the wider changes within British Iron Age and Roman studies, provides the context for a reconsideration of the function, social structure and temporal transformations of territorial oppida. The multi-scalar approach adopted in this research reinvigorates past theoretical perspectives, emphasising meaning-laden/human-centred studies of landscapes and the examination of identity and social practice. The areas surrounding Colchester and Chichester provide the focal case studies, in addition to comparisons to other British and continental examples.

The addition of developer-funded archaeological data to more familiar information, derived from earlier investigation, has allowed the understanding of oppida as diverse and socially complex settlements, which - rather than focused on an ‘elite’ class - were inhabited by a range of groups who undertook domestic and ritual practices within a dynamic social structure. Furthermore, an understanding of the temporality of oppida has highlighted their origins as important ‘places’ in the Iron Age landscape and underlined the complexity of responses to colonial contact with the Roman Empire following the Claudian invasion. These conclusions are fundamental in changing our interpretation of territorial oppida and the social conditions in Late Iron Age Britain.


 Educational background

  • MA, Practical Archaeology, University of Birmingham, 2005
  • BA, History and Archaeological Studies, University of Kent, 2004

Garland, N. and Anderson-Whymark, H. 2016. Mesolithic and late Neolithic/Bronze Age activity on the site of the American Express Community Stadium, Falmer, East Sussex. Sussex Archaeological Collections vol 154, 1-44

Garland, N. 2016. ‘New perspectives on British territorial oppida: the examination of Iron Age landscapes in time and space.’ In: Erskine, G., Jacobsson, P., Miller, P. and Stetkiewicz, S. (eds) Proceedings of the 17th Iron Age Research Student Symposium, Edinburgh 29th May - 1st June 2014. Archaeopress: Access Archaeology, 108-119

Garland, N. 2016. ‘Agency, Structure, and Place: Finds in the Landscape in the Late Iron Age / Early Roman Transition.’ In: Mandich, M., Derrick, T.J., Gonzalez Sanchez, S. Savani, G. & Zampieri, E. (eds) TRAC 2015: Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, Leicester 2015. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 76-91.

Doherty, A. and Garland, N. 2015. Archaeological investigations of the Devil’s Ditch at Windmill Park, Stane Street, Halnaker, West Sussex . Sussex Archaeological Collections vol 153

Garland, N. 2013. Ritual Landscapes of Pre-Roman Britain: The Margins of Practice on the Margins of the Empire. TRAC 2012: Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Garland, N. 2012. Boundaries and Change: The Examination of the Late Iron Age –Roman Transition. TRAC 2011: Proceedings of the 21st Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Conference Presentations

Co-supervisor (with Dr. Darrell Rohl) for session entitled ‘Theorising “Place” in (Roman) Archaeology’ for the Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference (TRAC), Sapienza Università di Roma. 16th to 19th March 2016.

‘Territorial Oppida and the transformation of landscape and society in south-eastern Britain from BC 300 to 100 AD.’ Paper presented at the Iron Age Research Student Seminar - Leicester 19th to 22nd May 2016.

‘Kingdoms and Tribes or Communes and Cooperatives: Discussions of social structure in Late Iron Age Territorial Oppida’. Paper presented at the Iron Age Research Student Seminar - Liverpool 11th to 14th June 2015.

‘Finds in the Landscape - Roman Artefact studies from a Wider Perspective’. Paper presented at ‘Interdisciplinary Approaches to Roman Artefacts’ session at the Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference - Leicester 26th to 29th March 2015.

‘The Social Landscapes of Iron Age Britain’. Paper presented at ‘Iron Age Landscapes in a comparative perspective’ session for European Association of Archaeologists Conference – Istanbul 10th to 14th September 2014

  • Late Iron Age Coin, found in Sussex
  • Geographical Information Systems Database for Southern Kingdom

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