Department of Classics and Archaeology

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

Project summary

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. It requires investigation which is only possible through an analysis cutting across provincial boundaries and those between the Iron Age, Roman and early medieval periods.

This research also reaches beyond Classics to modern sociolinguistics as well as Germanic, Celtic and Palaeo-hispanic studies. 

A row of seven women and one man standing in front of a large glass window smile at the camera in the sun.

LatinNow team at FIEC/CA 2019. Left to right: María José Estarán Tolosa; Noemí Moncunill; Simona Stoyanova; Pieter Houten; Anna Willi; Alex Mullen; Francesca Cotugno; Morgane Andrieu


How will LatinNow achieve its goals? 

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.

For more about the project, visit the main LatinNow website

The Team

Principal Investigator: Professor Alex Mullen

Research Fellows: Dr Pieter Houten, Dr Anna Willi and Simona Stoyanova

Senior Scientists: Dr Jane Masséglia (University of Leicester) and Professor Alan Bowman (University of Oxford)

Key Collaborators: Dr María José Estarán Tolosa, Dr Noemí Moncunill Martí and Dr Morgane Andrieu

Technical Director: Scott Vanderbilt

Find out more about the members of the LatinNow team on the project team page

Please let us know if you are interested in collaborating with us! Email 

Conference and workshops

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

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

For other workshops and conferences, please visit our website.


Please get in touch if you would like us to visit your school, museum or centre, either to give a talk or to present our exhibition.

European tour

In 2019 LatinNow went on tour around Europe with our pop-up exhibition 'VOCES POPVLI'. You can find out more about the tour by visiting our main website.

The back of the head of a man, facing a colourful wall display from the LatinNow exhibition tour.




Department of Classics and Archaeology

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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