Towns and Territories in Roman Baetica
This chapter attempts to develop a new method for looking at urban territories. It focuses on one of the most densely urbanized regions of the western Roman empire, Baetica, and advocates the integrated analysis of epigraphic and archaeological evidence within a specific geographical context as the best way forward. In particular, it explores two issues. It begins by using a range of geographical and archaeological criteria to test the robustness of the boundaries of a range of neighbouring towns recently proposed from an analysis of epigraphic data. It also attempts to gauge how far it is possible to think in terms of the size of the populations within these boundaries. The chapter then goes on to consider the relationship between boundaries as an administrative construct and a lived reality on the ground, suggesting that boundaries are best considered in terms of structured imprecision or ‘fluid’ boundaries. It concludes with an attempt at ranking territories in the study area on the basis of various archaeological and geographical variables, with a view to discussing the potential contribution that this kind of approach might make for bridging the gap between analyses of urban and rural landscapes.
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