chapter  I
The Edge of Empire
Pages 10

Forgenerations,Romanhistorianstendedtoconcentratetheirenergies onconstitutionalandpoliticalhistory,andtofocustheirinterestonthe Mediterraneanheartlandoftheempire.Thissituationhaschangeddramaticallyinrecenttimes.Theincreasedsophisticationofarchaeologicaltechniquesandtherapidaccumulationofarchaeologicaldataare providingscholarswithafarclearerpictureoftheeconomic,social, andtechnologicalaspectsofRomanlife.Sucharchaeologicalresearch ismostadvancedinnorthwesternEuropeand,althoughtoalesser degree,insoutheasternEurope.Asaconsequence,anincreasing amountisbeinglearnedaboutRomanlifeinBritain,theNetherlands, Germany,andtheothercountriesandregionsthatonceformedthe westernfrontiersoftheempire.Muchofthatinformationisnotbeing appliedeffectively,however.Manyhistoriansareunwillingtoadmit thevalidityofanydatanotsupportedbyatextualsource,andmany archaeologistsregardliteraryevidenceasunreliablewhencompared withthetangible"facts"theyhaveuncovered.Suchdifferenceshave impededattemptstoprovidethoseinterestedinthesubjectwithan integratedandcomprehensibleaccountoftheRomanfrontier.