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Culture and Society at Lullingstone Roman Villa
Author: Caroline K. Mackenzie. Paperback; 205x255 pages; viii+50 pages; 40 figures (colour throughout). 563 . Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781789692907. Epublication ISBN 9781789692914.
Book contents page
Culture and Society at Lullingstone Roman Villa paints a picture of what life might have been like for the inhabitants of the villa in the late third and fourth centuries AD. The villa today, in the Darent Valley, Kent, has an unusual amount of well-preserved evidence for its interior decoration and architecture. Seventy years on from the commencement of the excavation of the site, this study draws on the original reports but also embraces innovative approaches to examining the archaeological evidence and sheds new light on our understanding of the villa’s use. For the first time, the site of Lullingstone Roman Villa is surveyed holistically, developing a plausible argument that the inhabitants used domestic space to assert their status and cultural identity.

An exploration of the landscape setting asks whether property location was as important a factor in the time of Roman Britain as it is today and probes the motives of the villa’s architects and their client. Lullingstone’s celebrated mosaics are also investigated from a fresh perspective. Why were these scenes chosen and what impact did they have on various visitors to the villa? Comparison with some contemporary Romano-British villas allows us to assess whether Lullingstone is what we would expect, or whether it is exceptional. Examples from the wider Roman world are also introduced to enquire how Lullingstone’s residents adopted Roman architecture and potentially the social customs which accompanied it.

About the Author
Caroline K. Mackenzie read Classics at Pembroke College, Cambridge. As an undergraduate she gained a place to study for a month at the British School at Athens. After Cambridge, she continued her studies at law school where she was awarded a distinction and then practised as a Private Client solicitor in London for over a decade. Caroline subsequently pursued a teaching career, first as a law lecturer and then as Head of Classics at a preparatory school in Sevenoaks, Kent. In 2018 Caroline was awarded a Master of Arts with distinction in Classical Art and Archaeology at King’s College London.

Caroline’s current work includes private tutoring in Latin and Greek, providing workshops for schools and leading short courses in Classical Art and Archaeology as well as Classical literature. She also teaches on the annual Summer School in Homer at University College London. Caroline writes regularly for Argo, a journal of the Hellenic Society, and various other Classical publications. She has lectured for English Heritage who invited her to deliver a study day including a private tour of Lullingstone Roman Villa. Her website is: www.carolinetutor.co.uk

Reviews
'This book offers a unique interpretation of the Lullingstone Roman Villa in the Darent Valley of Kent, exploring how its inhabitants used space to assert their position in society, as well as their cultural identity. The first section of the book looks at the position of the villa and its ancillary buildings in the wider landscape, focusing on how the hills and views of the river valley might have been used to impress visitors. The second section turns to the interior of the building, particularly the central room and apse, exploring how the position and use of certain mosaics and inscriptions were used to highlight the villa owner's wealth and education, perhaps in an attempt to emulate Roman aristocrats. Richly illustrated with photographs of mosaics and wall-paintings from the villa, as well as reconstruction drawings of how both the interior and exterior may have looked during the Roman period, it takes the reader on an in-depth, but not remote, tour of the villa.' — Kathryn Krakowka, Current Archaeology, November 2019



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