AIA Annual Meeting 2014
Pre-Roman Italy: Art, Architecture and Ritual in Its Ancient Mediterranean Setting
Dr. Ilaria Battiloro, Mt. Allison University and Dr. Kimberly S. Busby, Angelo State University
The investigation of cult places and religious practices is a unique approach to understanding larger issues of cultural continuity and change. The role that religion has always played within the ancient cultures gives us the measure of the importance of this sphere for our understanding of past societies. Lato sensu, the way in which people conceived the cult place and identified themselves in religious beliefs and worships can be imagined as very similar to what happens in the modern world, where often a peoples’ identity is “embodied” in the affiliation to a precise religious faith, and – at the local level – a community finds collective self-expression in a specific church (the neighborhood church, for example). As major thinkers such as Vico, Marx and Engels, Gramsci and Durkheim argue, religion and religious belief can be considered an extension of the character of society, with its social function and implications for daily life. The features of each respective religious manifestation of a particular ethnicity or community must be considered according to changes within space, time and culture. Hence, religion is the reflection of the society itself and often may be found at the crossroads of ideological positions.
Cult places and manifestations of the sacred represent a privileged terrain of study to explore and define the communities of pre-Roman Italy. The interpretative analysis of archaeological documentation regarding cult places and ritual practices in pre-Roman Italy can be developed on different levels. For example, the study can be directed to architecture and spatial organization of cult places, in order to reconstruct how sanctuaries were conceived and therefore shaped by those people who built, frequented, and finally abandoned them. Other researches may privilege the systems of votive offerings and cultic practices, which may involve a social and economic analysis of the communities that participated in religious activities, a reconstruction of ancient beliefs and the physiognomy of deities.
We invite you to submit an abstract for this colloquium that explores different aspects of cult places and ritual in pre-Roman Italy as reflection of past societies. Archaeological, iconographic and in some instances, literary evidence informs the different approaches to potential themes which could include (but are not limited to) spatial organization of cult places, role of cult place in settlement organization, systems of votive offerings, reconstruction of worshipped deities and their sphere of competence. Please send a 200 word abstract to the co-organizers, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, of the proposed colloquium at the 115th Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting in Chicago, January 2-5, 2014, by Friday, February 1, 2013.