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Drawing The Line: An Archaeological Methodology For Detecting Roman Provincial Borders

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Chapter Summary

The standard geographical reference states clearly, at least of the eastern provinces, that Provincial boundaries are approximate and in many cases, very uncertain. One knows that Roman law was sophisticated enough to distinguish conceptually between the finis (limit) and limes (boundary) of land, and between land delimited by a natural feature and land measured out. The use of ceramic patterning to examine the extent, or nature, of imperial influence in provinces, has been used in pre-Roman Levantine studies, and in Meso-America. There are many striking parallels between the anthropology and archaeology of Meso-America and the Roman Empire. The Borders of Arabia and Palaestina (BAP) project, a case-study in an area overlapping part of the border between Palaestina Secunda and Arabia, is developing an archaeological methodology to allow a more precise definition of provincial territory based on the distortion to ceramic trade.

Keywords: borders of Arabia and Palaestina (BAP); Roman provincial borders



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