My research at Tübingen explored the origins of various cultural and socioeconomic trends that we witness occur in the northern provinces of the Western Roman Empire between the fourth and sixth centuries. Previously, the migration of new barbarian gentes such as saxones or franci has been assumed to offer an explanation for these changes, but our ability to identify the migration of these groups (doubtless though it is that this occurred) has been subject to substantial historiographical and methodological criticism. My research to date has been dissatisfied with the usual alternative explanation of the adoption of new ethnic identities as an explanation for the similar trends that we witness occur in these regions, including transformations in patterns of land tenure, changes to methods of burial of the dead and styles of material culture buried with those dead.
I therefore spent my time in Tübingen exploring a range of phenomena. Drawing upon recently published research on palaeobotanical and archaeological finds from northern Gaul and Britain which examines transformations to the rural economy in both these regions, I have come to believe that the shipment of grain from Britain to the Rhine frontier plays a vital role in our understanding of the economic interrelation of these regions. I have therefore been combining such source materials with our written sources for such shipments (namely, during the campaigns of Julian the Apostate) to examine the possible origins of new economic, social, and cultural relationships between Britain, Gaul, and Germania.
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