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The Roman Military Base at Dura-Europos, SyriaAn Archaeological Visualization$
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Simon James

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198743569

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198743569.001.0001

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Conclusion: Chiaroscuro

Conclusion: Chiaroscuro

15 Conclusion: Chiaroscuro
The Roman Military Base at Dura-Europos, Syria

Simon James

Oxford University Press

This project has explored the archaeology of Dura’s imperial Roman military base, and also considered other material traces of the presence of soldiers in the city, e.g. at the Palmyrene Gate and creation of urban baths. As such it here synthesizes the archaeological evidence of a literal quarter (or more) of this globally important archaeological site. It offers an example of the still under-appreciated potential of ‘legacy data sets’ and archival archaeology, and of resurveying ‘old sites’, to generate significant new knowledge, making best use of limited resources. It also considers ‘legacy ideas’ as well as more recent publications to generate new understandings of garrison, base, and city. I hope that this volume will further constitute a useful contribution to the study of the Roman armies, and the soldiers in their ranks. I also hope that it will establish that the military aspect is a vital part of the story of Dura itself, especially for the Roman era, and that the military base and the people who lived in it cannot be treated as literally and figuratively peripheral to Durene studies. The foregoing presents what has been a visually led project, and also one of space and of movement within it. It was conducted through a combination of examining the largely image-based archival records of the Yale/French Academy expedition and direct observation of the fabric of the city, especially of the remains exposed by the original excavations as they were between 2005 and 2010. It has also generated entirely new data expanding the picture through geophysical prospection of the unexcavated portions of the base area and vicinity. Physically moving around the topography of the former city and, where it was still partially upstanding, through some of its spaces, provided many key insights. Others derived from considering plans, aerial photographs, magnetometry plots, and recent satellite images. Not least, interpretations arose from generating the new drawings, largely plans, featured in this book.

Keywords:   Pollard, N., Siret, L., Stoll, O., Welles, C. B.

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