Glass, alcohol and power in Roman Iron Age Scotland

Dominic Ingemark

Research output: Book/ReportBookResearch


Roman glass from indigenous sites is a key source material for studying the impact of Rome on Iron Age Scotland, but it has never been properly studied. This work fills that gap.

This study is based on the Roman glass vessels found on non-Roman/native sites north of Hadrian’s Wall, dated mainly to the Roman Iron Age (AD 10-400 AD). These often-overlooked broken sherds of glass are shown to be parts of sought-after and valuable items.

ThisIt sheds fresh light on aspects of Roman-native relations, most importantly the exchange of goods and ideas, and considers the problem of whether these finds of glass on native sites represent loot or plunder as has been argued, or whether they were the outcome of some peaceful enterprise such as trade, exchange or present giving. The evidence points strongly to the latter, and leads to new insights on the intentions behind such exchanges.

The finds of glass cover a range of vessels which in their original Roman context were used in the serving and drinking of wine, reflecting a knowledge of Roman drinking customs among the Iron Age elites. It is argued that these elites maintained their power not merely through possessions in material objects, but also through immaterial resources in the form of knowledge of certain aspects of foreign culture. In short this study deals with glass, alcohol and power.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNMS Enterprises Ltd - Publishing
Number of pages300
ISBN (Print)978-1-905267-81-1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Classical Archaeology and Ancient History


  • Roman–native exchange
  • Roman glass
  • Roman drinking customs
  • Iron Age drinking customs
  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Mead
  • Transmission of ideas
  • Prestige goods systems
  • Feasting Theory
  • Roman Iron Age Scotland
  • Roman Britain
  • Roman Iron Age Scandinavia
  • Free Germany


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