Diss is in, let the comments begin!

Oddly enough, after all my worrying about table font size and margins, the Grad School accepted my dissertation within hours of my submitting it. Guess there isn't a lot for the dissertation-checker to do when spring graduation has passed and summer graduation is still a couple months away.The dissertation (Migration and Mobility in Imperial Rome) should be available through your favorite library within the week, but if you just can't wait to read 413 pages about isotope analysis, skeletal and dental pathologies, and slaves and lower-class immigrants to Rome, you can download it here. (It's a rather large PDF, about 24 megs.) I ended up choosing "traditional publishing" through UMI, mainly because it was $65 whereas their "open source" option was $160. Since I retain the copyright, I can post a copy of the PDF anywhere I want. This means I might miss out on any royalties that UMI will accrue, but I suspect that few people want to pay for a copy of my dissertation. Besides, I'd rather that people who want to read it be able to get easy access to it for free.

So now my ideas and my research are out there for others to comment on... or not to comment on. The latter is what I fear the most, metaphorical crickets after I put so much time and effort into a project I feel very proud of. To whet your appetite, here's the abstract:

Migration to Rome in the Imperial period has been under-researched owing to a dearth of epigraphical and historical evidence, particularly regarding the lower classes. A new set of data has come to light in the form of thousands of skeletons from lower-class cemeteries in Rome's suburbium. Two of these cemeteries, Casal Bertone near the city walls and Castellaccio Europarco in an agricultural area of the Roman suburbs, yielded 183 skeletons for osteological analysis. Combined strontium and oxygen isotope analyses of a subsample of 55 individuals isolated 20 people who came to Rome following a birth elsewhere. Carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of the same sample population demonstrated that there were significant differences between the childhood diet of immigrants to Rome and that of the locals. Immigrants were more likely to have consumed diets with significant amounts of the C4 plant millet. Prevalence of skeletal and dental diseases, however, were not significantly different between the immigrant and local populations. Mobility in Imperial Rome can thus be characterized from isotope analyses as long-distance migration from the provinces as well as movement of individuals within the Italian peninsula. The biological identification of immigrants to Rome in the absence of historical and epigraphical data is a significant first step towards a new understanding of who migrants were, where they came from, and what experiences they had upon arrival in the Imperial capital.

Finally, of course, it never hurts to reprise my favorite cartoon of all time, the Mother Goose and Grimm from May 17, 2008:


Fascinating, and I just downloaded your complete thesis, which I've skimmed, and will absorb more fully when time permits. I think I'll make use of this when I teach Roman Empire next Spring semester.
Thanks, Jonathan! I'm glad to hear you've found my work useful enough for use in teaching. And I'm always glad to hear from the classically inclined, since bioarchaeology is a relatively new approach in understanding ancient Rome.

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