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The Transition to Late Antiquity, on the Danube and Beyond$
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Andrew Poulter

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264027

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264027.001.0001

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Site-Specific Field Survey: the Methodology

Site-Specific Field Survey: the Methodology

(p.583) 22 Site-Specific Field Survey: the Methodology
The Transition to Late Antiquity, on the Danube and Beyond


British Academy

A field survey was undertaken to understand the date and character of villas and villages within the territory of the ancient town of Nicopolis ad Istrum in Bulgaria. The principal aim was to discover whether there had been a major dislocation in the traditional Roman settlement pattern which might explain the radical changes that affected the layout, function and economy of the city during the late fifth and sixth centuries AD. The work was principally directed towards villas because, as in other provinces, it was the villa-owning class which supported the city financially and, as the ruling elite, was responsible for urban administration; numerous second- to third-century tombstones from the city's territory, evidently set up on villa estates, record the role played by the landed class in the organization of Nicopolis, either as members of the assembly (bouleutes), or as magistrates. This chapter describes the survey methodology, developed for the Transition to Late Antiquity. It originated in a surprisingly successful survey which discovered a new early Byzantine ‘city’ in north-eastern Greece.

Keywords:   Nicopolis ad Istrum, Bulgaria, field survey, villas, villages, Late Antiquity, Greece, eonomy

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