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The Urban Domus In Late Antique Hispania: Examples From Emerita, Barcino And Complutum

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses a number of issues that are often the subject of scholarly debate: the characteristics of the late antique domus of Spanish towns; the similar evolution of both urban and rural domestic structures; the archaeological interpretation of this change; and the end of the Roman domus. It concentrates on the domus of three towns, particularly relevant to our discussion of late antique Hispania: Augusta Emerita, Barcino, and Complutum. Case studies from Hispania indicate that two important changes to urban domestic architecture occurred during Late Antiquity. First, during the 4th century, elite urban residences were renovated or constructed on a monumental scale, often over public buildings and space, and lavishly decorated. Second, mainly in the 5th and 6th centuries, public spaces and buildings were re-occupied by poor-quality houses while the domus disintegrated and were replaced by simpler domestic units built with 'simpler' plans and construction materials.

Keywords: Augusta Emerita; Barcino; Complutum; late antique Hispania; Roman domus; urban domestic architecture



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