Ancient Romans structured a man-made empire
out of architectural structures.But, has building
these structures had an impact on the Earth’s
eco-systems? This research exhibits that
stratigraphy is a material paradigm of the
Anthropocene, displaying its importance in
archaeology while displaying that
stratigraphically, layers helps unearth avisual of
the Anthropocene.Attention is honed on Ancient
Roman innovative building styles made with
concrete, thus exhibiting the role the Ancient
Romans played in the epoch.
This research is: (1) empirical, requiring the
study and collection of data and/or analysis; (2)
qualitative, as it is exploring, understanding,
and analyzing unstructured data;and, (3) a
mixture of historical theory (Hodder and Hutson
2003:145)and structuralization analysis, as this
research will discover the recursive relationship
between structure and practice.
(1) What is the Anthropocene? The
Anthropocene is “a novel potential geological
unit…based upon significant, but temporally
distant, events.These events are typically,
although not exclusively, associated with major
changes in the fossil contents of rocks below
and above aparticular horizon...” (Waters, et al.
The Anthropocene of Roman Archaeology
Vivian A. Laughlin, Ph.D. Pre-Candidate
Behavioral Sciences Department & Institute of Archaeology at Andrews University
“Examples of key ‘events’that could produce stratigraphical [layers] that could be
used to define the base of the Anthropocene.”(Waters, et. al. 2014: 2)
(5) How do these ‘events’affect life forms? The
Ancient Romans utilized the innovative technology of
concrete for self promotion and revolutionizing
ancient Roman architecture.The creation of concrete
allowed structures, aqueducts, roads, fortifications
and cities to be made.
“Archaeology can be of use in providing the evidence
upon which the chronological boundary for the start
of the Anthropocene can be based”(Edgeworth 2010:
1) Concrete affects the Earths ecosystems, as it was
made by a conglomeration of natural resources.While
its purpose was justified to build stronger structures,
it still had an overall effect on the epoch.This effect
was not specific to one particular time, but from
ancient to modern day times. Demonstrating how the
Ancient Romans innovative building skills have
crossed over into various other ancient cultures,
allowing said skills to be utilized globally today.
(1) Harris, E. C. 1979. Principles of Archaeological
Stratigraphy.London: Academic Press.
(2) Edgeworth, M. 2014. Archaeology of the Anthropocene.
Journal of Contemporary Archaeology. 1: 73-77.
(3) Waters, C. N.; Zalasiewicz, J. A.; Williams, M.; Ellis, M.A.;
and, Snelling, A. M. 2014. A Stratigraphy Basis for the
Anthropocene. Eds, C.N. Waters, J.A. Zalasiewicz, M.
Williams, M.A. Ellis, A.M. Snelling. London: The Geological
(4) Kleiner, D. E. E. 2014. Roman Architecture: A Visual
Guide. New Haven, London: Yale University Press.
Stratigraphical layers exhibiting Anthropocene Events.
Caesarea Maritima, Israel. Built by Herod the Great. The entire city is made of concrete.
Herod sunk ships with cement blocks in the ocean to make this port city.
(2) What does the Anthropocene have to do with
Archaeology? Archaeology is atool that can be
used to visualize changes within the Anthropocene
based off of material evidence remaining from
human modification of the physical environment.
(3) Why is stratigraphy important within the
concept of the Anthropocene? Stratigraphy is
important to Archaeologists because it shows the
Anthropocene by allowing “Archaeologists to
determine the relative chronological order in which
the stratification was created and to record its
topographical and physical characteristics.” (Harris
(4) What is an example of an ‘event’that changes
fossil, soil and rocks? The Ancient Romans created
concrete (opus caementicium). Concrete was made
of “a variable recipe of small stones, lime mortar,
sand, and pozzolana, a volcanic substance,
especially plentiful in the area around the Bay of
Naples.” (Kleiner 2014:21This inevitably made
what we call today, Hydraulic Concrete, being that it
was made with aspecial mortar of lime and volcanic
ash mixture that hardens when mixed with water.