The Bioarchaeology of Diversity: A Case Study in the Roman Empire

Author(s): Sarah Poniros

Year: 2018


This poster presents a new project to explore migration—the geographic movement of people—and diversity—the intersection of different types of people—in imperial Rome. In Bioanthropology, migration is often perceived in oversimplified terms. Researchers seek to determine if an individual or group migrated, and when in their lifetime this occurred. Furthermore, many scholars treat diversity in equally simplified terms. Traditionally, individuals are assigned to an ancestral population of "best fit," despite claims that this practice is unreliable. Migration and diversity are complex, intertwined elements of the human experience and must be approached in tandem using multidisciplinary methods.

This poster outlines the methods available to examine past migration and identifies ways to incorporate them with evidence of diversity. Scientific approaches, i.e. biodistance and isotopic analyses, will be combined with cultural approaches, i.e. the study of material goods and funerary accounts of diversity, and literary approaches, which document native Roman and migrant opinions. These methods will be applied to case studies from imperial Rome, which was characterized by diverse communities as a result of frequent conquest and large-scale population movements. The outcome will establish if this integrated approach allows for greater insight into the experiences of migrating and host communities.

Cite this Record

The Bioarchaeology of Diversity: A Case Study in the Roman Empire. Sarah Poniros. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443361)

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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20840