Life alongside the Romans: Ancient Scottish settlements reveal ancient secrets

“This is one of the most interesting areas of the Roman Empire because it represented its northernmost border and also because Scotland was one of the few areas in Western Europe over which it never managed to gain full control,” he said. CNN author study published in Antiquity magazine.

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The project, which started last September and will last until 2024, focused in its first phase on exploring 1,500 km2 around Burnswark Hill in south-west Scotland, where Roman legions concentrated in their efforts to expand north.

Fernández-Götz and a team of archaeologists studied lidar data from the area. Lidar uses lasers to capture the surroundings in 3D. Data from the process revealed 134 as yet unrecorded settlements, despite the fact that the area has been well researched in the past. “Lidar basically reveals places in the landscape that could easily be overlooked if you studied them from the ground or the air,” he said. “New technologies are bringing about real change and revealing a wealth of previously unknown information,” he added.

It will help to understand the local relations with the Romans

The total number of Iron Age settlements in the region has thus increased to 704. Many of these newly found sites are small farms. The buildings help scientists get a picture of how the local population lived, how distant their neighbors were and how they could use the landscape to farm and graze animals, the author said study.

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The region under study contains the largest concentration of Roman projectiles found in Britain, which is evidence of the firepower that the legions carried with them. For centuries, Northern Britain was “a changing border area with dynamic patterns of confrontation and exchange between the Iron Age communities and the Roman state,” the researchers wrote.

There seems to have been considerable conflicts between the locals and the Roman army, but it is possible that they also experienced periods of exchange and cooperation, as “farmers were connected, for example, to large logistics supply lines for the Roman army.”

Reconstruction of settlement patterns

The location of the sites suggests that there was a certain organizational pattern that determined when and where these indigenous communities settled, the researchers said. “The important thing about discovering many previously unknown sites is that they help us reconstruct settlement patterns,” co-author said in a statement to CNN. study Dave Cowley, Head of Aerial Research at Historic Environment Scotland. “Individually, they are very routine, but cumulatively they help us understand the landscape in which the original population lived,” he added.


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As archaeologists continue their research, they will trace back some of the remarkable discoveries they have made so far with geophysical tools and radiocarbon dating to better understand these settlements and the people who built them. Their findings could paint a picture of what life looked like before, during and after the Roman occupation. And how much the imperialists disrupted the lives of local communities.

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