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Laurence Seminar 2015 - Rethinking artefacts in Roman archaeology: beyond representation

This workshop seeks to discuss the implementation of new model(s) and understanding of material culture that will allow us to reintegrate the empirical richness of Roman artefacts with the general working principles of the Roman world.
When May 28, 2015 09:30 AM to
May 29, 2015 04:00 PM
Where Room G.21
Contact Name
Attendees All welcome but please register by emailing Astrid Van Oyen (av360@cam.ac.uk).
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This workshop starts from the identification of two issues in the way Roman
archaeology deals with artefacts. Firstly, the synthetic narratives shaping the agenda of Roman archaeology – e.g. debates on socio-cultural change and economic performance – tend to approach material culture in a representational way whereby objects come to stand for or reflect motives external to them (such as status or identity). Recent material culture studies show that this is a partial approach, and that in addition to ‘what does this object mean’ we need to ask what it does. Although this critique has been taken on board by an increasing number of recent studies of Roman artefacts, a second problem arises: in response to the representational dictate of the synthetic narratives, there is a tendency for those recent artefact analyses to steer clear altogether from the ‘big’ questions like power, value, empire, or trade. This workshop seeks to discuss the implementation of (a) new model(s) and understanding of material culture that will allow us to reintegrate the empirical richness of Roman artefacts with the general working principles of the Roman world.

Full programme can be downloaded HERE.

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