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CALL. 06.10.2017: Remembering and Cultural Memory in the Roman West (TRAC 2018) - Edinburgh (Scotlan




LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Edinburgh University (Edinburgh, Scotland)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Dr Ralph Häussler (Faculty of Humanities, University of Wales Trinity Saint David) ; ​Prof. Günther Schörner (Institute of Classical Archaeology, University of Vienna) ; ​Dr Thomas Schierl (Institute of Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Bonn)

INFO: web -​​


TRAC Session 4D

'Memory' and 'remembrance' in societies and of societies have been key terms in social sciences for more than twenty years and also became key topics in the study of the Classical world. The material remains of the past - for which the French sociologist Maurice Halbwachs (1950) coined the term cadre matériel - allow archaeology to study the material aspects of memory. Studies of memories in the Roman Empire focused either on the city of Rome herself or on the Eastern Greek-speaking part, while the West has been neglected or even treated under the heading ‘forgetfulness’ to demonstrate that the cultures in the western and northern provinces did not remember their pre-conquest pasts (cf. e.g., Woolf’s ‘The Uses of Forgetfulness in Roman Gaul’, 1996).

The aim of this session is to show that – contrary to conventional opinion – people in the western provinces used various means to come to terms with the knowledge and memory of one’s pre-Roman history: indeed, remembering one’s origins and descent as an essential part of social memory also played a key role in the West for identity- building within the framework of the Roman Empire. Different means can be detected archaeologically – for example:

- the connection with a common mythological past by making use of well-known founder heroes like Hercules (e.g. in Mauretania Tingitana);

- the framing of pre-Roman monuments and their loading with a new meaning especially in sacral sepulchral contexts (e.g. in the province of Baetica, Britannia, etc.);

- the conscious recourse on pre-Roman material culture in Roman times (e.g. in Africa proconsularis);

- the use of pre-Roman sanctuary sites for the construction of a unbroken tradition to the Roman Empire (in most provinces, e.g. Britain, Gaul, Africa proconsularis, Iberia);

- the persistence and creation of deities and cult places to express local memory and history (e.g., Southern Gaul)

If you are interested in the subject of Cultural Memory, Social Memory, Remembering,... then please send an abstract to the TRAC committee by Friday, 6th October.

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