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Creolizing the Roman Provinces
American Journal of Archaeology
Vol. 105, No. 2 (Apr., 2001), pp. 209-225
Published by: Archaeological Institute of America
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/507271
Page Count: 17
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Romanization, Deities, Creoles, Material culture, Opposition to immigration, High culture, Iconography, Cultural values, Imperialism, Christianity
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"Romanization," a concept first discussed by the British scholar Francis Haverfield in 1905, remains the dominant model for intercultural change in the Roman provinces. Building on recent critiques of Romanization, this paper suggests that Romanization-which is simply acculturation-has merits as a means of envisaging the processes by which provincial elites adopted the symbols of Rome, but that the concept is fundamentally flawed when applied to the majority populations of the provinces. Drawing on developments in Caribbean and American historical archaeology, it is suggested that the Roman provinces may more usefully be regarded as creolized than as Romanized. Creolization, a linguistic term indicating the merging of two languages into a single dialect, denotes the processes of multicultural adjustment (including artistic and religious change) through which African-American and African-Caribbean societies were created in the New World. It is argued here that a creole perspective may fruitfully be brought to bear upon the material culture of the Roman provinces. Taking aspects of Romano-Celtic iconography as a case study, it is argued that a creole perspective offers insights into the negotiation of post-conquest identities from the "bottom up" rather than-as is often the case in studies of Romanization-from the perspective of provincial elites.
American Journal of Archaeology © 2001 Archaeological Institute of America