The Roman Society

Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies

Centenary Conferences

AD 410 The End of Roman Britain

Roman Society and Dept of Portable Antiquities & Treasure, The British Museum

End of Roman Britain Conference, at The British Museum

13-14 March 2010

Saturday 13 March

0900                Registration

1000                Welcome – Andrew Burnett (President, Roman Society; Deputy Director, The British Museum)

Session 1         Historical Issues A                       
Chair: John Pearce (Kings College, London)

1015                Rob Collins (Portable Antiquities Scheme; University of Newcastle): Limitanei and Comitatenses: military withdrawal or continuity at the end of Roman Britain

1040                Michael Jones (Bates College): The Great Saxon Raid

1105                Fernando López Sánchez (University Jaime I, Castellón, Spain: Wolfson College, Oxford): Constantine III and Constans: history and numismatics

Session 2         Historical Issues B
Chair: Roger White (University of Birmingham)

1200                Anthony Birley (The Vindolanda Trust): Honorius’ letter to the cities of Britain: a phantom

1225                Neil Faulkner (University of Bristol): Gildas: the red monk of the first peasants’ revolt

1250                Fraser Hunter (National Museums of Scotland): The end of Roman Scotland?  A view of 410 from the other side of the Wall

Session 3         Town
Chair: Ralph Jackson (British Museum)

1415                Alison Telfer (Museum of London Archaeology): Between Roman and Saxon London

1440                James Gerrard (Cambridge University): Pots and coins: people and rubbish in latest Roman London

1505                David S. Neal: Verulamium, Building 2, Insula XXVII: A re-interpretation of the evidence

1530                Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews (North Hertfordshire District Council): The experience of ‘small towns’: utter devastation, slow fading or business as usual? 

Session 4         Villas, Artefacts and the Rhineland
Chair: Nicholas Higham (University of Manchester)

1625                Jeremy Taylor (University of Leicester): Ends and beginnings: Characterising Rural settlement in the 4th and 5th centuries

1650                Ellen Swift (University of Kent): Artefacts in the fourth to fifth century transition period: a case study

1715                David Wigg-Wolf (Institut für Archäologische Wissenschaften Abt. II. Goethe-Universität): Fog on the Rhine: Coinage and the end of Roman rule in North Gaul and Germany

1800                Reception in the Clore Education Centre; launch of AD 410 – The Year that Shook Rome.

Sunday 14 March

Session 5         The North, The South-East and the West
Chair: Ian Haynes (University of Newcastle)

1000                Andrew Birley (The Vindolanda Trust): RIACUS and BRIGOMAGLOS: A brave new world and balance of power at post-Roman Vindolanda

1025                Ken Dark (University of Reading): Not about Arthur: Western Britain in Late Antiquity, c. AD 400 – c. AD 600

1050                David Rudling (University of Sussex): Roman Sussex: Early Beginnings and some Early Endings

Session 6         Language and Religion
Chair: Richard Abdy (British Museum)

1145                Andrew Breeze (University of Navarre, Pamplona): Language and Society in the 5th century

1210                Stephen Yeates (Wolfson College, Oxford): Linguistic divisions, Kenneth Jackson’s Map, and the provinces and peoples of Roman Britain

1235                David Petts (Durham University): Christianity and the end of Roman Britain

Session 7         Treasure and Money
Chair: Gareth Williams (British Museum)

1400                Richard Hobbs (British Museum): Sacred Largesse at the end of the World

1425                Peter Guest (Cardiff University): Strange Fruit - the burial of Roman objects in fifth century Britain

1450                Kenneth Painter (National Museums of Scotland: Traprain Law treasure research project): Traprain Law and its hoard of Roman hacksilber

1515                Sam Moorhead and Philippa Walton (British Museum and University College London): Credit-Crunch and Quantitative Easing?  The Portable Antiquities Scheme sheds fresh light on coin use in late and post-Roman Britain.

Session 8         The Big Picture
Chair: Sally Worrell (Institute of Archaeology, UCL)

1610                Hilary Cool (Barbican Research Associates): Which ‘Romans’?; what ‘home’? The myth of the end of Roman Britain

 1635                Jeremy Knight (Formerly Inspector of Monuments, Cadw): 'The Afterlife of Tyrants: Roman Emperors in Early Medieval Wales'

1700                Martin Henig (Wolfson College, Oxford; University College London): Another country – Britannia transformed


RAC/TRAC 2010 Conference Report

The 20th Roman Archaeological Conference, and the 9th Theoretical Roman Archaeological Conference, were held in conjunction at the University of Oxford on the 25th – 28th of March, 2010. We were honoured to host the two largest conferences relating specifically to Roman archaeology, all the more so because the conference was also a celebration of the Roman Society’s centenary. The conferences were very successful with over 350 registered attendees, including scholars from Germany, France, Netherlands, Canada, Spain, Greece, and the USA. There were 120 papers (not including discussant papers) in 21 sessions, and two plenary lectures. 

The Society’s Centenary was marked by a plenary lecture given by the Society’s President, Dr Andrew Burnett, followed by a reception in the Ashmolean Museum; by toasts at the conference dinner, and by the award of the Roman Society’s Centenary Dissertation Prize for Roman Archaeology to Rebecca Blackburn for her dissertation completed at the University of Reading.

The organisers of RAC/TRAC 2010 are very grateful to the following institutions and bodies for their support, financial and otherwise of the conference: the various departments of the University of Oxford who provided venues and financial support, in particular the Faculty of Classics, the Craven Committee, the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, and the Taylor Institution; the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies for funding the RAC and for providing bursaries for delegates attending TRAC; Barbican Research Associates and TRAC 2008 Amsterdam for their generous contributions towards bursaries for speakers from the United Kingdom and Europe attending TRAC; the Study Group for Roman Pottery for funding a bursary for RAC; and Oxbow Books for supplying these booklets and conference packs and for their continued support for both conferences.

Organizing Committee:

Fraser Hunter (Roman Society ex officio), Andrew Wilson, Hannah Friedman, Bert Smith, Alan Bowman, Janet DeLaine, Susan Walker, and Paul Booth

Dragana Mladenović and Ben Russell

Andrew Wilson, 26 May 2010

Classical Association Annual Conference

The annual Classical Association Conference was held at Cardiff University, 7th - 10th April, 2010.

The Roman Society organised a panel celebrating its centenary,  convened by Kate Gilliver.

Richard Brewer (National Museum of Wales): Britain and Britannia

Andrew Burnett (Roman Society / British Museum): Celebrations

Chris Smith (British School at Rome): JRS and Roman History

Chris Stray (Swansea University): A History of the Societies.

The Society also sponsored an evening reception at which the Hellenic Society presented poems in Latin with an English version to mark the centenary. Read the poems here.

Regional Roman Archaeology Conferences

New Light on the Roman North East

9 October 2010
Council Chamber, County Hall, Durham

A day-conference organised jointly by Durham County Council's Archaeology Section and the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham & Northumberland

Dr Nick Hodgson: Native settlement north of Hadrian's Wall: new discoveries

Arthur Anderson: The social archaeology of the late Iron Age-Roman North East

Dr David Mason: The Roman forts of County Durham re-assessed

Frances McIntosh: How the PAS is illuminating our understanding of the rural Roman North East

Philippa Walton: Rethinking coin use and loss in the Roman North

Dr David Petts: Christianity and the end of the Roman North

Dr Rob Collins: The North East in AD 410: is this "the end"?

The End of Roman Britain in the East

16 October, 2010
University of Nottingham

The year 2010 marks 1600 years since the Emperor Honorius famously told the inhabitants of the provinces of Britannia to “look to your own defences”, a statement which is traditionally taken to mark the “end” of Roman Britain. While it is widely accepted that Roman Britain did not simply end overnight in AD 410, what actually occurred in Britain between the late Roman and post-Roman periods is still widely debated. What was “Roman” Britain like in AD 410? What happened to the settlements of Britain and the rural landscape that supported them during the 5th century and what effects did migrating “barbarian” populations have on the political and cultural landscape of the province?

This one day conference is one of a series of regional events supported by the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, which is celebrating its centenary in 2010. It will focus on the end of Roman Britain in the eastern parts of the province of Britannia (the present day East Midlands and East Anglia). These areas had responded in very different ways to Roman rule and equally responded in different ways to the end of Roman Britain. They were also areas that saw early settlement by Anglo-Saxon migrants during the later 5th and 6th centuries. Focusing on recent archaeological discoveries, the conference will explore how this region responded to the end of Roman rule.


9.50-10.00: Will Bowden (University of Nottingham): Introduction to the conference

10.00-10.35: Richard Buckley (University of Leicester): The late Roman to Anglo-Saxon transition: new evidence from Leicester

10.35-11.10: Andrew Rogerson (Norfolk Landscape Archaeology): What light is shed on the end of Roman Norfolk by portable antiquities?

11.30-12.05: Jude Plouviez (Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service): Hoarding in late Roman East Anglia

12.05-12.40: James Rackham (Environmental Archaeology Consultancy): Animals and environment in the east of late Roman Britannia

12.40-1.15: Steve Malone (Archaeological Project Services): Revealing landscapes: Lincolnshire and the late Roman Fens

2.00-2.35: Michael Jones (City of Lincoln Council): The transformation of Roman Lincoln

2.35-3.10: Will Bowden (University of Nottingham): Caistor-by-Norwich and the end of Roman Norfolk

3.30-4.05: Jeremy Taylor (University of Leicester): A landscape lost: rural settlement in the 4th-5th century in the East Midlands

4.05-4.40: Neil Faulkner (University of Bristol): Warlords, gentlemen, officers and warlords again: a short history of British towns c. 50 BC – AD 550

What's New in Roman Scotland?

23 October 2010
St Mungo's Museum of Religious Life & Art, Glasgow

2010 is the 1600th anniversary of AD 410, often seen as the "end" of Roman Britain. It is also the 1800th anniversary of the last major Roman invasion of Scotland, by Septimius Severus. To mark these anniversaries, the Glasgow Archaeologicial Society is holding a day seminar with the Roman Society.

9.50 Introduction

10.00-10.30 Rebecca Jones: On the march (new thoughts on temporary camps)

10.30-11.00 Birgitta Hoffmann: New fieldwork at Inchtuthil Roman fortress, 2009-2010

11.30-12.00 Lawrence Keppie: The fate of the Ninth Legion

12.00-12.30 Bill Hanson: Understanding Roman forts

12.30-1.00 Alan Bowman: A view from the neighbours: the Vindolanda Tablets

2.00-2.30 David Breeze: The Antonine Wall - new perspectives

2.30-3.00 Geoff Bailey: The Antonine Wall - recent discoveries around Falkirk

3.00-3.30 Nick Hodgson: New light on Antonine and Severan Scotland

4.00-4.30 Fraser Hunter: Restless natives - dealing with the locals

4.30-5.00 Discussion

Emperors, Usurpers, Tyrants: The History & Archaeology of Western Britain from AD 350 to 500

30-31 October 2010
Cardiff University

To commemorate the 1600th anniversary of the End of Roman Britain, and to celebrate The Roman Society’s centenary, Cardiff University and the Monmouthshire Antiquarian Association are hosting a two-day conference to explore the evidence for Roman continuity in western Britain in the 5th century.

The traditional date of A.D. 410 for the end of Roman rule in Britain has less resonance in Wales where, since Gildas, the important date has always been AD 383 when Magnus Maximus, the Macsen Wledig of medieval Welsh tradition, allegedly removed the last Roman troops from western Britain. The archaeological evidence, however, indicates that a Roman way-of-life and perhaps formal Roman administration too, continued in Western Britain for far longer than further east where the coming of the Angles, Saxons and other German settlers marks the beginning of English history.

Did the end of Roman rule mean the sudden abandonment of Roman culture throughout Britain? How much of Roman culture and traditions survived into the 5th century in Wales and the West? Did people continue to think of themselves as Romans or Roman Britons after 400? How did events in England affect how population of Western Britain saw themselves and the world around them?These and many other fascinating questions will be the subject of ‘Emperors, Usurpers, Tyrants’. The results of new archaeological research have an important contribution to make to the study of the emergence of an early Welsh identity from the legacy of Roman Britain, and 2010 is a timely opportunity to bring this work together and attempt a synthesis. The conference will include a wide range of papers on the history and archaeology of 5th century Wales and Western Britain, delivered by experts at the forefront of current research who have been invited to speak on their specialist subjects. Themes and topics include the survival of town life, the Roman army, Roman and ‘post’-Roman material culture and the transition to Christianity, as well as coinage, pottery and inscriptions. Members of the audience will be able to put questions to the experts during a ‘Question Time’ panel discussion on the second day.


30 October

9.30-10.00    Jeremy Knight: The Afterlife of Tyrants: 410 in context

10.00-10.30  Roger White: A Brave New World? The archaeology of Western Britain in the fifth century

11.00-11.30  Richard Brewer: Caerwent and late Roman settlements in south-east Wales

11.30-12.00  Neil Holbrook: History divided by a Common Border: the Welsh and English sides of the Severn in the 4th and 5th centuries

12.00-12.30  Andrew Gardner: Soldiers and Society in the late Roman west

1.30-2.00      Peter Guest: Coinage & currency in late Roman Wales

2.00-2.30      Peter Webster: Pottery supply and production in the late 4th and early 5th centuries

3.00-3.30      Hilary Cool: Finding the 5th century in western Britain

3.30-4.00      Roger Tomlin: Epigraphy in Late Roman Wales & the West

31 October

10.00-10.30  Alan Lane: Dark Age or Late Antique: Centres of Power in Western Britain 5th-7th century

10.30-11.00  Andy Seaman: Romans without an Empire: the emergence of Christian identities in post-Roman Wales and the West

11.30-12.00  Dai Morgan-Evans:  Legacy hunting: Rome and the Welsh Identities

12.00-12.45  Panel Discussion

12.45-1.15 John Hines: Summing Up

The End of the Roman North: Roman to Anglo-Saxon in Northern England

13 November 2010
Temple Hall, York St John University

The Yorkshire Archaeological Society and the Roman Society will jointly present a day-conference in November 2010 to commemorate the 1600th anniversary of the end of Roman Britain and the Roman Society's centenary. The keynote lecture will be given by the Archaeology Committee's Secretary, Dr Fraser Hunter (National Museums Scotland), on The Traprain Law Hoard.


10.00  Morning Lecture Session starts

Dr Mark Whyman: The End of Roman York – and beyond?

Dr David Mason: Vinovia to Binncaester: Late and Post-Roman Binchester

Ian Roberts: Late Romans and Elmetians?  A review of the archaeological evidence for the British Kingdom of Elmet in West Yorkshire

Prof Jennifer Price: Glass at the end of the Roman North

Tom Green: Britons and Saxons in Early Lincolnshire

2.00    Afternoon Lecture Session starts

Prof Dominic Powlesland: After the Dark Ages: Roman to Anglian in the Vale of Pickering

Dr Tom Pickles: 'The "Adventus Saxonum" in Yorkshire: the contribution of place-names

Prof Ian Wood: The Origins of the Kingdom of Bernicia

4.00    Keynote Lecture

Dr Fraser Hunter: The Traprain Law Hoard

4.30    General Discussion

New Thoughts About Late Roman Britain

27 November
Peter Symonds' College, Winchester

Welcome introduction by Kay Ainsworth

John Casey: The End of Roman Britain. What we thought they thought they knew.

David Allen: Carausius and Allectus. Making an exhibition of themselves.

Steve Cosh: Roman Mosaics. A barometer of success.

Hella Eckardt: Foreigners and Locals in Romano-British Towns.

Ellen Swift: Artefacts in the 4th & 5th century transition period. A case study.

Ken Dark: From Late Roman Britain to Britain in Late Antiquity.

The Legacy of Rome: Wales AD 300-700

13 November 2010

One-day confernce organised by the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, Aberystwyth, in association with the Roman Society

9.30-9.40:  Dafydd Johnston/Andrew Burnett: Introduction

9.40-10.30:  Roger White: Overview to main events and themes within Wales

Settlement traditions, centres of power and external contacts

(Chair: Barry C Burnham)

10.30-11.05: Alan Lane: Centres of power in south Wales

11.30-12.05:  Dave Longley: Settlement traditions in north Wales

12.05-12.45:  Richard Brewer: Caerwent and settlement in the south-east

Thematic issues

(Chair: John Koch)

1.45-2.20:  Thomas Charles Edwards: Language and literacy

2.20-2.55:  Jonathan Wooding: Christianity

2.55-3.30:  Nancy Edwards: Roman continuity and reinvention: the early medieval inscribed stones and stone sculpture of Wales

3.30-4.20:  Huw Pryce: Rhufain a Hunaniaeth Cymru [Rome and Welsh Identity]

4.20-4.30:  Dafydd Johnston/Andrew Burnett: Closing Questions


AD 410 Conference

Rebecca Blackburn receiving the BA Archaeology Dissertation Prize from the President
RAC/TRAC 2010: Rebecca Blackburn receiving the BA Archaeology Dissertation Prize from the President

Classical Association logo

The End of Roman Britain in the East

The Legacy of Rome: Wales AD 300-700
The Legacy of Rome: Wales AD 300-700

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