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The Latinization of the North-western Roman Provinces: Sociolinguistics, Epigraphy and Archaeology

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - LatinNow (The Latinization of the North-western Roman Provinces: Sociolinguistics, Epigraphy and Archaeology)

Reporting period: 2020-03-01 to 2021-08-31

LatinNow is an interdisciplinary project linking sociolinguistics, archaeology and ancient cultural history. Dramatic changes occurred linguistically in the north-western Roman Empire: a patchwork of local languages which existed in the Iron Age had been all but replaced by Latin as the dominant language by the end of the imperial period. Precisely how, when and why this change occurred, and how it relates to other social phenomena, remains an underexplored topic central to the Roman world and requires investigation which is only possible through an analysis cutting across provincial boundaries, and those between the Iron Age, Roman and early medieval periods, and reaching beyond Classics to modern sociolinguistics and Germanic, Celtic and Palaeo-hispanic studies.
LatinNow bridges this gap in our knowledge by employing an approach which exploits both epigraphic and archaeological material (writing and writing equipment) and situates the phenomena of Latinization, literacy, bi- and multilingualism within broader social developments. Drawing together the developing strands of sociolinguistics, bilingualism studies, digital epigraphy, and small finds archaeological investigation into an integrated methodology brings a fresh perspective, founded on empirical data and supported by evolving technologies (GIS, EpiDoc, RTI).
LatinNow confronts thorny, large-scale socio-cultural issues and will contribute to an appreciation of the construction of our diverse European heritage.

Objectives of LatinNow
1. Contribute to our cultural heritage and our understanding of modern socio-cultural phenomena through an appreciation of palaeo-European languages and histories and the complex relationships between language, identity and culture.
2. Understand the Latinization of the provinces, including the spread of Latin language and literacy, temporally, geographically and socially, resultant bi- and multilingualism and impact on non-Latin languages.
3. Pioneer an interdisciplinary approach which treats both epigraphic remains and the archaeology of writing equipment to trace Latinization.
4. Exploit other projects with large data sets and online resources for digital epigraphy by incorporating relevant material into an integrated GIS.
5. Improve documentation of, and access to, our ancient epigraphic remains and the archaeology of writing through the project GIS, publications of new texts and re-readings, and additions to digital epigraphy databases.
6. Exploit and disseminate specialist knowledge through international conference and 2 workshops.
7. Contribute to the socio-cultural history of the north-western provinces through the publication of peer-reviewed books and single and co-authored articles.
8. Engage the public and researchers in the study area in the languages and writing of the Roman period through the touring exhibition.
9. Develop skills in the ERA by advanced training within the team and training during the touring exhibition.
10. Make the UoN a centre of excellence for digital epigraphy.
11. Inspire and educate school children across the UK on project themes.
12. Publish a manual on Roman handwriting.
13. Complete the publicly available Roman Inscriptions of Britain online.
Work performed and results (* indicates unforeseen major opportunities, stimulated by the project):

1. 6 books, 28 journal articles/book chapters/conference proceedings chapters. [Obj 7]
2. Manual of Roman Everyday Writing published. [Obj 12]
3. Completion of Cotugno’s thesis on nature of Latin in Roman Britain [Obj 1, 2]
4. Mullen working with Vindolanda Trust and British Museum to use RTI to read the unpublished writing on stylus tablets from Vindolanda. [Obj 5]*
5. Andrieu working with academics and volunteers in the sub-project on graffiti on ceramic from Lugdunum. [Obj 1, 2, 5]*
6. Launch of the revamped and expanded Roman Inscriptions of Britain Online (Vanderbilt). [Obj 5, 13]
7. Two international workshops on Latinization: post-Roman and social factors and preparation for the related volumes. [Obj 1, 2, 6, preparation for 7]
8. International panel on writing equipment at the Roman Archaeology Conference in Edinburgh. [Obj 3, 6]
9. Co-hosted and delivered talks at workshop on Digital approaches to the western provinces at the Institute for Classical Studies, London. [Obj 3-6]
10. Co-hosted and delivered papers at workshop on scripts at Las Palmas. [Obj 1-3, 6]
11. Hosted samian ware event in Oxford, including a papers and a two day practical workshop. [Obj 4-6]
12. Panel with papers by team members on Ancient sociolinguistics at FIEC/CA, London. [Obj 1, 2, 3, 6]
13. Over 60 papers delivered (plus 2 posters), including three keynotes. [Obj 1, 2, 3, 6]
14. Cleaning and adding information to our 180,000 record epigraphic database and project GIS. [Obj 5]
15. Advanced training in EpiDoc, RTI, GIS for the team and others, through the DigiText workshop (UoN), RTI training (UoN), GIS training (Oxford, Hamburg (online), Nottingham (online)), multiple EpiDoc sessions delivered by Stoyanova across Europe. [Objectives 9, 10]
16. International research collaborations with numerous groups, including the Vicus Gruppe (Netherlands) and AELAW (EU-COST network). Hosted academic visitors. [Objectives 3, 5, 6]*
17. Execution of a 6-language, 6-country touring exhibition. [Objective 8]
18. Extensive outreach. Bespoke teaching materials created. [Objective 11]
19. Success for team members: Moncunill and Estarán have tenure-track posts. Mullen and Estarán have won major research prizes. Mullen has been elected to the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society.
20. Public dissemination via website, Twitter, newspaper/website articles, TV appearances, YouTube videos etc.
In our advancement of the field of ancient sociolinguistics we are striving to ensure it entails not simply collecting linguistic features, but rather that we take full account of the socio within sociolinguistics. In particular we are promoting more historically informed and archaeologically contextualized approaches to language and epigraphy on a wide geographical scale. We are presenting a revised vision of Latinization, bi- and multilingualism and literacy in the north-western provinces, which provides unique insights into identity and lived experiences. By the end of LatinNow we expect: the major research volumes out or in press; more peer-reviewed pieces of scholarship; release of our GIS; extension of our international collaborations; pioneering of the latest digital approaches to epigraphy; integration of the study of writing equipment and epigraphy in rethinking ancient literacy; a touring exhibition with inspiring research and educational activities across multiple European countries.
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