Poster session 7.3

Joey Williams (Western Iberia Archaeology)

An Early Roman Watchtower in Central Lusitania: Colonial Negotiation, Cultural Exchange, and Surveillance Archaeology

The reorganization of western Iberia into the province of Lusitania was presaged by the establishment of military, economic, and political control over the region during the first century B.C.E. As part of this, a number of watchtowers were positioned around the Serra d’Ossa in the central Alentejo region of Portugal. The excavation of one of these towers, called Caladinho, and its associated domestic space was undertaken from 2010 to 2013. The architectural and artifactual remains of Caladinho speak to the swift, profound social and cultural changes wrought in the region by Roman colonialism. The artifact assemblage suggests that the inhabitants maintained connections with Roman cultural practices, provincial administration, and Mediterranean markets despite their isolated position in the Lusitanian hinterland. The position of Caladinho and other towers around the Serra d’Ossa is likewise instructive since these towers appear to form a complementary surveillance network which observed routes of transport through the region as well as many of the more inaccessible, remote areas in which dissent to the new Roman hegemony might have developed. This surveillance, performed by the tower’s inhabitants, was part of a program of colonial negotiation which would define the province in later centuries.

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