chapter  10
Tacitus, Agricola and the role of literature in the archaeology of the first century AD
Pages 16

The sources for the history of Roman Britain in the late first century AD are complex. In the absence of reliable archaeological data, nineteenth-and early twentieth-century classicists and ancient historians relied mostly on Tacitus’ Agricola and, once archaeological evidence did begin to emerge, it was frequently grafted onto this pre-existing reconstruction as illustrative material, rather than as an independent form of evidence. With the everincreasing gap between classics and archaeology over the last forty years, this originally text-based narrative is now perpetuated by archaeological professionals who are increasingly unable to assess the limitations of written sources, and thus their value, in comparison to their own archaeological evidence. This chapter will attempt to show that discussion of the late first century is progressing in both fields and that a renewed co-operation would be beneficial to both classics and Romano-British archaeology.