Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Mining Culture in Roman Dacia: Empire, Community, and Identity at the Gold Mines of Alburnus Maior ca.107–270 C.E.
by Pundt, Heather Ann, M.A., Portland State University, 2012, 176; 1518898
Abstract (Summary)

Trajan conquered Dacia in 106 CE and encouraged one of the largest colonization efforts in the history of the Roman Empire. The new province was rich in natural resources. Immigrants from Dalmatia, Moesia, Noricum, Pannonia, Greece, Syria, Bithynia, Italy, indigenous Dacians, and soldiers from Legio XIII Gemina participated in the extraction of gold from the Apuseni Mountains. The inhabitants of mining settlements around Alburnus Maior and the administrative center Ampelum coexisted under Roman governance but continued to mark their identities in multicultural communities.

At Alburnus Maior the presence of wage laborers with access to outside materials and ideas created the opportunity for miners to communicate identity through mediums that have survived. A series of wax tablet legal contracts, altars, and funerary monuments can be combined with recent archaeological data from settlements, burials, and the mines themselves to formulate the broad view necessary to examine the intricacies of group and self-expression. Through this evidence, Alburnus Maior offers a case study for how mobility and colonization in the ancient world could impact identity. Due to the pressures of coping within a multicultural community, miners formed settlements that were central to their daily lives and facilitated the embodiment of state, community, and personal identities.

Identity changes over time and can simultaneously communicate several ideas that are hard to categorize. This study approaches this challenge by looking from macro to micro contexts that influenced several expressions of identity. Chapter 2 begins with a historical background that explores the expansion of the Roman Empire and considers how different experiences of conquest influenced the colonists who immigrated to Dacia. The circumstances that led to the massive colonization of Dacia are also considered. Chapter 3 describes how the mines at Alburnus Maior were exploited, who was present, and assesses the impact of state officials, legionaries, and elite entrepreneurs on the formation and expression of state identity through cult, law, and language. The formation of immigrant communities and the working conditions that permeated everyday life at the mines are then considered in the next chapter. Settlement, cult, and religious membership are evaluated for their role in creating and articulating community identities. Chapter 5 then analyzes the personal and sometimes private expression of identity that appears in commemoration, naming conventions, and burial. The three levels of state, community, and personal identities often overlap and collectively show that the hybridization of ideas from several cultures was central to how those at Alburnus Maior negotiated their identity in the Roman Empire.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Turner, Brian
Commitee: Litzenberger, Caroline, Spielman, Loren R., Walton, Linda
School: Portland State University
Department: History
School Location: United States -- Oregon
Source: MAI 51/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: European history, Ancient history
Keywords: Alburnus maior (Rosia Montana), Ancient mining, Cultural hybridization, Identity, Mining cults, Roman Dacia
Publication Number: 1518898
ISBN: 978-1-267-62597-7
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