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Feeding the Roman Army in Britain: Animal supply networks on the frontiers

This ambitious, interdisciplinary project will revolutionise our understanding of the Roman army in Britain and, most importantly, the strategies that ensured the successful history of Roman imperialism.


It will do this by generating new evidence for the supply networks that provided animals to the frontiers and the economic strategies that supported the army. The project will serve as a model for integrated and interdisciplinary research in Britain and the rest of the Empire (combining history with archaeology and science, while connecting university research with museum collections).

The project is timely as it is only now that we have the opportunity to bring together the vast corpus of well-stratified faunal material, with advanced multi-isotope methods and high-resolution biosphere mapping in Britain. The research will not only make major contributions to Roman studies, but will also have great legacy benefits for studies of mobility, both animal and human.

Multi-isotope study

This ambitious analytical programme, the largest multi-isotope study ever undertaken in archaeology, will mark a step change in investigating movement through isotope analysis.

It will serve as a blueprint for exploring trade, requisitioning, mobility and connectivity across a wide geographical and chronological range; the dataset will provide an invaluable comparative resource and the plant data will enhance mapping resolution for future studies in these areas.

Further legacy benefits in archaeological science and Roman studies will be delivered in providing career progression for three early career academics.

Funded by The Leverhulme Trust

Principal Investigator

Picture of Richard Madgwick

Dr Richard Madgwick

Reader in Archaeological Science

+44 29208 74239