National Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: Troels Myrup Kristensen

Affiliation: Aarhus University

“I was trained in Aarhus, Leicester, Cambridge, Winnipeg, Athens and Rome. Currently, I am Associate Professor of Classical Art and Archaeology in the Department of Culture and Society, Aarhus University. I have recently finished a five-year collaborative research project, “The Emergence of Sacred Travel (EST): Experience, Economy, and Connectivity in Ancient Mediterranean Pilgrimage”, funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research’s Sapere Aude research excellence programme. Since 2016, I have been Work Package Leader in the Horizon2020-funded “CoHERE: Performing and Representing European Identities” project, working on the role of Classical Antiquity in constructions of European and national identities. I also have a variety of administrative roles, such as directing the PhD Programme in History, Archaeology and Classical Studies in AU’s Graduate School of Arts, and the research programme “Classical Antiquity and its Heritage”in the School of Culture and Society.

My research interests lie broadly within the study of visual culture in the ancient world, the material culture of ancient pilgrimage, late antique art and archaeology as well as the contemporary ‘consumption’ of heritage. My first monograph, Making and Breaking the Gods. Christian Responses to Pagan Sculpture in Late Antiquity, was published in October 2013. Current projects include monographs on Ancient Mediterranean Pilgrimage and Classical Antiquity and European Identitites, both for Routledgeas well as anthologies on Going, Gathering and Giving: Economies of Sacred Travel in the Ancient World (co-edited with Anna Collar, to be published with Brill’s ‘Religions in the Greco-Roman World’ series), and Sacred Treasures. Collecting and Inscribing Art in Ancient Sanctuaries (co-edited with Jane Fejfer, to be published with Routledge’s ‘Image, Text and Culture in Classical Antiquity’ series).”

Professor Kristensen is an AIA Kress Lecturer for 2018/2019.

Past Lectures:


This lecture presents results from a recently completed five-year research project on “Ancient Mediterranean Pilgrimage” that investigated journeys to sanctuaries in modern Greece, Italy, and Turkey, from the Archaic to Late Antique periods. It takes up the challenge of “connecting the dots” in the archaeology of ancient Greek and Roman sanctuaries that traditionally has focused on buildings and monuments as singular, isolated units. The lecture instead proposes to reconstruct some of the different spatial and visual strategies employed by sanctuaries to provide evocative experiences through rituals, gatherings, and landscape features. In particular, it focuses on issues of mobility to, from and within sanctuaries, for example, by means of both carefully choreographed processions and more improvised, informal gatherings. Taking inspiration from scholarship on contemporary mobilities, it asks questions, such as: How did movement within a sanctuary shape the experience of a pilgrim? And how may new approaches to space help us to identity patterns of movement as well as places of gathering within sanctuaries?

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

T.M. Kristensen and W. Friese (eds.) Excavating Pilgrimage. Archaeological Approaches to Sacred Travel and Movement in the Ancient World (London 2017).

Ancient Mediterranean Pilgrimage project website:

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