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Subject:

Re: Ethnicity, Language and Culture - Archæological perspectives

From:

Michael Heal <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 4 Apr 2010 15:30:30 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (93 lines)

Can I throw in my five penny worth with a question?

I am still working on my theory that writing was far more prevalent in the 
years 56AD to 556AD than is commonly accepted in Britain.
To this end I have been researching the History of the Written Language.
There is it seems little argument that both spoken and written language 
spread across the Eastern , Middle Eastern and some African Countries
through trade, the exploits of merchants and their need to converse with 
those with whom they traded and met.
Through Egyptian hieroglyphics to the Phoenician alphabet and on to the 
Greek and Latin/Roman Alphabet were descendants of each other and
developed through the necessity of trade and and commerce.
This being the case and the fact that the Isle of Britannia was a trading 
Nation even before the Romans arrived.

Why is it so fantastic to believe that a number of Brits were not only able 
to speak and converse with the Romans but also be able to read and write 
too?
When I first asked this question on answer was:

    "The issue of literacy in the Roman period is complex. Those letters you 
refer to are, if I'm not mistaken, found in military context. Given the 
Roman tendency to confound (and confuse) military with the administration, 
it is not surprising that writing was commonly used among them all. The 
point is that these letters are little proof of writing being common among 
the 'common' (non military, non administrative) population. Inscriptions are 
abundant in the Roman period, but nobody pretends that the epigraphic habit 
was common to all social strata. And there comes another point: the 
epigraphic habit was generally lost in the 3rd Century. Some theories point 
to the substitution of stone for perishable materials (e.g. cloth, wood) in 
the Later Roman period, but this is a completely unproven hypothesis." 
(This is the first part of the reply only).

I have no intention in naming the author of this reply but, having done more 
research I think I am now better able to respond.

I must start with a question: Why would the Roman army need to put these 
messages in code in an  attempt to confound as you put it if no could read 
the original anyway?
You are by the very nature of your reply inferring that the ability to read 
Latin or understand the Roman alphabet was in Britain before the Romans 
arrived.
As for them all being all Military most historians I have asked seem to 
accept that both were family chit chat, An invitation to a birthday party 
and the other a letter from home to a soldier, stationed on Hadrian's Wall.

My original question was; Given that many soldiers and administrators 
retired and decided to live out their lives in Britain,  would it not be 
probable that they would have taught their children read and write too?

Thus by the start of the 5th century reading and writing by if nothing more 
than osmosis, would be greater than we seem to believe?

Research has shown me that throughout the Mediterranean both spoken and 
written language spread and developed as trade and conquest spread so why 
should Britain be any different?


Thanks

Mike Heal

--------------------------------------------------

From: "Kate Lancelott Beddoes" <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, April 04, 2010 11:52 AM
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: [BRITARCH] Ethnicity, Language and Culture - ArchŠological 
perspectives

>>
>> On 25 March 2010 12:50, John Briggs <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>>>
>>>> That language=culture is worth exploring.
>>>
>>>
>>> John Briggs
>>
>>
> Cultural and language differences may exist within an ethnic group, whilst
> distinct ethnic groups might not appear materially different in that they
> share some cultural symbols and a common intelligible language which 
> bridges
> ethnic division (Baker, 2007:2)
>
> Baker, J. T., 2007, Cultural Transition in the Chilterns and Essex Region,
>
> 350 AD to 650 AD: Volume 4, University of Hertfordshire Press.
>
> I think that we could examine the historiography of inter-displinary
> scholarship on Ogham-inscribed stones for a case study.
> 

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