Cadastres, Misconceptions & Northern Gaul

A case study from the Belgian Hesbaye region

Rick Bonnie | 2009

Cadastres, Misconceptions & Northern Gaul

A case study from the Belgian Hesbaye region

Rick Bonnie | 2009

ISBN: 9789088900242

Imprint: Sidestone Press | Format: 210x297mm | 169 pp. | MA Thesis, Leiden University, the Netherlands | Language: English | Keywords: Roman archaeology, Roman settlement | download cover

A Roman cadastre is a particular form of land allotment which looks like a chequerboard. It was implemented by the Romans in regions throughout the Empire, from Syria to Gaul. Yet, how did a Roman cadastre exactly look like? What has Roman cadastration in common with centuriatio and parcellation, and what not? Are aerial photographs and maps a reliable source to reveal traces of a Roman cadastre? Did Roman cadastres exist outside the Mediterranean region, and if so, what are the consequences of its existence on a socio-cultural level? Behind these apparently straightforward questions are for most scholars simple definitive answers. On the basis of these answers scholars have regarded the archaeological study of Roman cadastres often as optimistic, biased and even unscientific.

In Cadastres, Misconceptions and Northern Gaul Rick Bonnie argues that during the Middle-Roman period a cadastre was implemented by the Romans around the provincial Roman city of Tongres. In contrast to general beliefs, Bonnie demonstrates that it is possible, using aerial photographs and maps, to reconstruct a landscape outside the Mediterranean region that was overlain by a Roman cadastre. It furthermore discusses and examines the history of research, historical and archaeological sources on Roman cadastres, as well as the Roman period of the Belgian Hesbaye region.

Abstract:

A Roman cadastre is a particular form of land allotment which looks like a chequerboard. It was implemented by the Romans in regions throughout the Empire, from Syria to Gaul. Yet, how did a Roman cadastre exactly look like? What has Roman cadastration in common with centuriatio and parcellation, and what not? Are aerial photographs and maps a reliable source to reveal traces of a Roman cadastre? Did Roman cadastres exist outside the Mediterranean region, and if so, what are the consequences of its existence on a socio-cultural level? Behind these apparently straightforward questions are for most scholars simple definitive answers. On the basis of these answers scholars have regarded the archaeological study of Roman cadastres often as optimistic, biased and even unscientific.

In Cadastres, Misconceptions and Northern Gaul Rick Bonnie argues that during the Middle-Roman period a cadastre was implemented by the Romans around the provincial Roman city of Tongres. In contrast to general beliefs, Bonnie demonstrates that it is possible, using aerial photographs and maps, to reconstruct a landscape outside the Mediterranean region that was overlain by a Roman cadastre. It furthermore discusses and examines the history of research, historical and archaeological sources on Roman cadastres, as well as the Roman period of the Belgian Hesbaye region.









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