Department of Classics

Latinization of the north-western provinces: sociolinguistics, epigraphy and archaeology (LatinNow)

The project

This is an interdisciplinary project linking sociolinguistics, archaeology and ancient cultural history. Dramatic changes occurred linguistically in the north-western Roman Empire: a patchwork of local languages which existed in the Iron Age had been all but replaced by Latin as the dominant language by the end of the imperial period. Precisely how, when and why this change occurred, and how it relates to other social phenomena, remains an underexplored topic central to the Roman world and requires investigation which is only possible through an analysis cutting across provincial boundaries, and those between the Iron Age, Roman and early medieval periods, and reaching beyond Classics to modern sociolinguistics and Germanic, Celtic and Palaeo-hispanic studies. 

LatinNow bridges this gap in our knowledge by employing an approach which exploits both epigraphic and archaeological material (writing and writing equipment) and situates the phenomena of Latinization, literacy, bi- and multilingualism within broader social developments. Drawing together the developing strands of sociolinguistics, bilingualism studies, digital epigraphy, and small finds archaeological investigation into an integrated methodology brings a fresh perspective, founded on empirical data and supported by evolving technologies (GIS, EpiDoc, RTI). 

LatinNow confronts thorny, large-scale socio-cultural issues and will contribute to an appreciation of the construction of our diverse European heritage.

Conference and workshops

Workshop 1:
 Thematic issues in the Latinization of the north-western provinces (Oxford, c. September 2018)

Workshop 2: Language death and survival in the north-western provinces (Oxford, c. September 2018)

Conference: Presentation of work by core team members and speakers from the workshops (Nottingham, c. September 2020)


Please let us know about schools/museums/exhibition centres you’d like us to visit with our exhibition and/or to give talks at.

Please suggest materials for our touring exhibition.

Please let us know if you find writing or writing equipment which you think may be ancient.

Please let us know if you would be interested in collaborating on the project.


Project funding 


LatinNow is funded by a Starting Grant of 1.5 million Euros from the European Research Council.

It will run for five years from 1 March 2017.



Department of Classics

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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