Re-creating the past: the accuracy of re-created Roman houses and villas in northwestern Europe and the justification for their creation

Martina-Sara Mueller-Zaugg

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

Despite the ongoing popularity of re-created buildings, including those of the Roman period, they have been at the centre of much controversy. Not only the damage to authentic remains caused by those built in situ, but also the conjectural character of all such structures has been the focus of debates. This thesis investigates how re-created buildings have been justified at sites concerned with the Roman period, and how accurately such buildings reflect the ancient reality. Based on re-created Roman houses and villas from eight different sites in northwestern Europe, including in situ and ex situ buildings, the main reasons for re-creation are identified and discussed; these range from presentation, interpretation, education and tourism to research and experiment, use and re-use, TV production and, controversially, even site preservation. An additional focal point is the Public Inquiry at South Shields in 1984 which was held in response to the planned re-creation of the west gate of the Roman fort. It provides a rare insight into the justifications used for such a project and the concerns raised against it. Focusing on three features – ground plans, windows and wall paintings, the question of accuracy is investigated by exploring the sources available for each of these features and by comparing them with the re-created reality.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2012

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