Dr. Ralf Bockmann
August 2022 - March 2023
Research Project: Cities under Changing Conditions. An Archaeological Study of Urbanism and Resource Management in Central North Africa and Western Spain between the 6th and 8th Centuries
The project I will work on as a Fellow at the RomanIslam Center is a comparative study of the cities of Carthage and Valencia and their territories, understood as their micro-regions in which they dominated markets and movements and with which they were intensely linked. Both cities had been important Roman and late antique centres, but as traditional coastal metropoleis depending on antique trade patterns, their status was questionable at the end of Antiquity, in the period of deep political, economic and social changes between the 6th and 8th centuries. While Carthage itself lost its power and importance, its region remained vital - Valencia on the other hand retained its position better, with an equally active territory. My focus will predominantly be on the development of the settlements in these territories and how they changed in relation to the exploitation of resources and its organisation, and in dependence on the dominant centers of trade, politics and governmental organisation. In this project, I will build on a variety of archaeological material from both regions. In northern Tunisia, I co-directed a number of field-projects relevant to the topic of this project; additionally many sites of the region have been studied at least superficially so that a basis of material is available for a comparative study with the region of Valencia, that contains several settlements of different sizes and functions from the period studied. By comparing these two regions, I hope to better understand the impact of the social and economic transformations of this period on urbanism.
Dr. Ralf Bockmann is an archaeologist with a specialisation on Late Antiquity. He received his MA from Hamburg University and his PhD from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, co-supervised at the University of Cambridge. His work has concentrated on North Africa, where he has co-directed several fieldwork projects in Carthage and the governerate of Zaghouan, at Abbir Cella and Jougar, as well as a landscape studies project in Libyan Tripolitania. His work is interdisciplinary, using a wide variety of fieldwork and analysis methodologies, following a wide chronological range to understand changes in settlement topographies, use of landscape and social and economic organisation. He is particluarly interested in urbanism, Christian architecture and religion as social phenomenon, particulalry in the late antique and Byzantine western Mediterranean. A second interest is in visual studies, particularly the history of the use of photography in archaeology and visual representations of various aspects of social status and positions in Antiquity. Dr. Bockmann has directed the Photo Library and Archive of the German Archaeological Institute in Rome between 2014 and 2022, when he was also responsible for the North Africa projects of the institute. In addition, he has held positions at the State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt and the Ethnological Museum Hamburg, today MARKK, as well as several prestigious fellowships in Europe and the US.
Bockmann, Ralf (2022), "African Rome. The City of Carthage from its Roman (Re-)Foundation to the End of the Byzantine Period", in: Bruce R. Hitchmer, ed., A Companion to North Africa in Antiquity, Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 119-141.
Bockmann, Ralf et al. (2021a), "Isotopic reconstruction of diet at the Vandalic period (ca. 5th-6th centuries AD) Theodosian Wall cemetery at Carthage, Tunisia", International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 31/3, 393-405.
Bockmann, Ralf / Bartsch, Tatjana / Pasieka, Paul / Röll, Johannes (2021b), Faktizität und Gebrauch früher Fotografie - Factuality and utilization of early photography. Tagung der Fototheken des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts Rom und der Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte, 22.–24. März 2017 (Beiträge zur Geschichte der Archäologie 3), Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
Bockmann, Ralf et al. (2020), "The southwestern city quarter and its main monument, the circus", in: John H. Humphrey, ed., "For the Love of Carthage", Journal of Roman Archaeology: supplementary series 109, 50-74.
Bockmann, Ralf / Leone, Anna / von Rummel, Philipp, eds., (2019a), Africa - Ifriqiya. Continuity and Change in North Africa from the Byzantine to the Islamic Epoch. Papers of a conference held in Rome, Museo Nazionale Romano - Terme di Diocleziano, 28 February - 2 March 2013 (Palilia 34. Monographs of the German Archaeological Institute Rome), Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
Bockmann, Ralf (2019b), "Late Byzantine and Early Medieval Carthage and the transition of power to Tunis and Kairouan", in: Ralf Bockmann / Anna Leone / Philipp von Rummel, ed., Africa - Ifriqiya. Continuity and Change in North Africa from the Byzantine to the Islamic Epoch. Papers of a conference held in Rome, Museo Nazionale Romano - Terme di Diocleziano, 28 February - 2 March 2013 (Palilia 34. Monographs of the German Archaeological Institute Rome), Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 77-89.
Bockmann, Ralf et al. (2016a), "Developing a Collabrative Strategy to Manage and Preserve Cultural Heritage During the Libyan Conflict. The Case of the Gebel Nafusa", Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 23.4, 971-988.
Bockmann, Ralf (2016b), "Le développement tardif du centre de Carthage: aspects religieux et infrastructurels", in: Paola Ruggeri, ed., L'Africa Romana XX. Monumenti di continuità e rottura: bilancio di trent'anni di convegni L'Africa Romana, Roma: Carocci, 1135-1143.
Bockmann, Ralf (2014), "Märtyrer Karthagos. Ursprünge und Wandel ihrer Verehrung in den Kirchenbauten der Stadt", Römische Mitteilungen 120, 341-375
Bockmann, Ralf (2013), Capital continuous. A Study of Vandal Carthage and Central North Africa from an Archaeological Perspective (Spätantike – Frühes Christentum – Byzanz, Reihe B: Studien und Perspektiven 37), Reichert: Wiesbaden