Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis

Subject Categories

Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Latin American History


Arcaheology; Spain; Latin America


The way that culture expands and transforms in a colonial context has often been viewed in a top-down approach. This thesis focuses on the spread of culture in the Roman conquest of Spain and the Spanish conquest of Latin America. By framing the argument with a discussion on Romanization, this paper shows the presence of the ideas surrounding Romanization in a new context. By investigating what material culture shows, this thesis looks to the countryside to find examples of cultural change. It argues that the villa landscape should be seen as the indicator of the Romanization of Hispania. The structure of the countryside and villas the elite constructed both brought Roman culture to the indigenous Iberians. A similar structure was then adopted by the Spanish as they partook their own imperial expansion. The encomienda and hacienda systems shaped the landscape and policies undertaken forced this on the indigenous populations.

The transformation of culture in these two colonial contexts was more impactful in the countryside than in cities because that is where the majority of people lived. Connection between these two different places and times is seen through the landscapes that were created as part of the expansion of empire. The analysis on the division of land and the homes the elite constructed for themselves allows us to better understand all levels of society. Through this analysis the impact of empire on indigenous communities is seen more clearly.