Heated Competition: The Social Role of Hypocaust in Roman Dacia

Author(s): Alexander Brown

Year: 2016


This paper explores the social influence in the employment of one aspect of Roman architectural culture, the hypocaust heating system, in the specific context of Roman Dacia. Hypocaust heating became the prevalent standard for wealthy homes throughout the Empire, but due to the expense was more commonly employed in a limited fashion, especially in Dacia. As a luxury accommodation, the hypocaust provides a potential proxy for wealth and status of the resident user. As a luxury that is felt, and not directly seen, this also becomes a proxy for interpersonal social interaction; as opposed to other architectural embellishments, hypocaust use was dependent on human presence, and size may more strongly indicate used capacity than other types of rooms.

Comparisons of domestic contexts, both rural and urban, in which hypocausts are found or not found in Roman Dacia can thus help delineate the extent of social networks that were operating the various economic and political machineries of the province. Following on preliminary investigations in the Mures Valley Region of Romania, formerly Dacia, the author proposes that the physical ambience created by hypocaust would have influenced the structures of sociopolitical interactions in Roman Dacia.

Cite this Record

Heated Competition: The Social Role of Hypocaust in Roman Dacia. Alexander Brown. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404723)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;