Sacred Landscapes: Creation, Manipulation & Transformation, 5th-7th May 2014
Listed alphabetically by delegate
There will be five thematic sessions (see programme):
1. Transformation of sacred landscapes
2. Manipulation of sacred sites: monumentalising natural features
3. Myth & landscape: landscapes invested with meaning
4. Sacred landscapes, identity and territorial organisation
5. Experiencing sacred landscapes
Over the Rainbow: Places with and without Memory in the Funerary Landscape of Knossos during the 2nd millennium B.C.
Lucia ALBERTI (Istituto di Studi sul Mediterraneo Antico [ISMA], Rome)
The Knossos valley, a very distinguished physical space clearly delimitated by mountains and the sea, is an ideal laboratory for the reconstruction of the cultural changes in an ancient landscape, in particular in its relationships between the city of the Quick and the city of the Dead. It is indeed both narrow enough to strengthen the links between life and death and wide enough to keep the two states apart. Concerning the funerary landscape, during the middle of the II millennium BC we see a significant change in the positioning of tombs and necropoleis. Within a period of about five hundreds years (ca. 1700-1200 BC, Middle Minoan IIB-Late Minoan IIIC early) we can distinguish two different phases: in the first (ca. 1700-1450 BC) necropoleis are located high up, enjoying an extraordinary view of the natural landscape and the main focal points of Minoan political and sanctified milieux (mountains, sea, caves and springs; peak sanctuaries, necropoleis; Palace and city); in the second phase (ca. 1450-1200 BC), tombs are located lower down, almost hidden away in places from which it is impossible to see the important settings of Minoan memory and identity.
We move from paths and vistas visible to anyone far or near to places which, although we are not seen and we do not see, are yet located near the main route from the city to the harbour. It is not merely degree of visibility that is changed, but also the quality of the visual perception and perspective. These transformations in the choice of the funerary locations are associated with other significant cultural changes expressed physically: from multi-chambered tombs used for generations and with simple grave goods to mono-chamber tombs with few inhumations, but with impressive assemblages, containing considerable weapon sets, bronze vases and jewellery.
The change in social action and cultural strategy is very marked: which prompts a series of questions. Why at some point were new burial sites with such a different set of geomorphological and spatial features chosen? In this alteration what part did the view (or the none-view) of the natural and cultural landscapes play? How and why is the perception of the landscape changed? Working from exclusively archaeological and artefact data how is it possible to speak about ideological change?
By integrating this material dataset within the wider historical-archaeological context of Knossos during the 2nd millennium BC, I will attempt an explanation of the possible ideologies and thought-processes that seem to underlie the social actions so vividly expressed in the physical funerary landscape of the valley.
Landscape Design and Experience in Assyria: A Spectrum of Artificiality, Sacrality and Accessibility
Anastasia AMRHEIN (University of Pennsylvania)
Although gardens have been attested in Mesopotamia since Sumerian times (appearing in some of the earliest written records c. 3000 B.C.E.), it is with the emergence of the Neo-Assyrian Empire that their role in the ideological program of the state becomes evident, thanks to abundant textual and visual records. In fact, a variety of designed sacred landscapes with varying purposes can be discerned in this period (9th-7th centuries B.C.E.). Neo-Assyrian kings, who dominated much of the Middle East, were especially attuned to the power that affective experience of landscapes (as well as their representations) could have upon both subjects of the state and foreigners. For the first time, the manipulation of the natural world and the design of sacred landscapes became a significant preoccupation of kings.
Relying on archaeological, visual and textual evidence, the limited amount of existing scholarship on ancient Near Eastern landscapes has concentrated on gardens and categorized them into ‘temple’ and ‘palace’ types. Such a binary categorization does not fully consider the variety of designed landscapes that existed in Assyria nor the full range of their characteristics—the most fundamental of which, I believe to be sacrality, accessibility and artificiality. In contrast, I propose a continuum, along which landscapes exhibiting greater artificiality are positively correlated with sacrality and in-accessibility. Exhibiting the greatest artificiality and sacrality and the least accessibility are private gardens of the gods and kings. At the other end of the spectrum are public parks intended for the inhabitants of the city (that served as sites for interpellation). These are the least artificial and sacred and the most accessible.
I believe artificiality to be a central concept because it allows landscapes and their visual representations to be considered coequally—and simultaneously as both ‘images’ and ‘places’—whose accessibility and experience is heavily mediated not only by the materials that constitute and transmit them, but also by the body and its senses. As observed by the geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, ‘experience’ is not simply passive sensation, but active learning—it is the various modes ‘through which a person knows and constructs a reality.’ Akin to the medieval cathedrals discussed by Tuan, as man-made spaces, Assyrian sacred landscapes ‘reveal and instruct’ by means of a visceral, ‘direct appeal to the senses, to feeling and the subconscious mind’ through formal qualities such as layout, light, sound and scent. The response of subjects to these signs was a consensus gentium—there was little if any doubt regarding the signs’ meaning.
As suggested earlier, a major component of the Assyrian ideological program was the production of new images —including tangible ones such as new cities and artworks; less permanent ones such as designed landscapes; as well as new mental conceptions. The full meaning of these images, I argue, emerged from their interaction with one another. A case in point (and the focus of this paper) is the Neo-Assyrian city of Nineveh (located in modern-day northern Iraq), built by King Sennacherib (r. 704-681 B.C.E.), where dialogue between physical planted landscapes and their visual and mental representations can be discerned—specifically, the relationship of the planted gardens and parks to the visual program of the palace reliefs, where representations of these places first appeared during the reign of Sennacherib’s grandson Ashurbanipal. In this paper, I will thus foreground the manner in which planted, designed sacred landscapes and their representations shaped and reflected the Assyrian politico-religious conceptualization of the world—where re-presentations were direct and vital and there was no ontological division between signification/representation and the lived world.
Natural Cult Places in Celtiberia: Myth and Reality
Ruth AYLLÓN-MARTÍN (CEIPAC, University of Barcelona)
Archaeology has revealed a great deal about Celtiberian’s society and culture most of it related to urban scene leaving rural areas behind. Despite the efforts, there is still many questions to answer in the field of Celtiberian religion and some creative interpretations to disprove. Fortunately, in the last decades landscape studies and archaeology have provided precious data that can be used in order to boost ancient religion studies.
A thorough bibliographical review has been necessary to compile the oldest reports and newest views of the scarcely evidences of Celtiberian religion. In addition to them, we will connect these sites and evidences with their immediate landscape, trying to define the nearest communities, routes and resources to them in order to understand their interaction with Celtiberian communities. This local approach is combined with regional and tribal point of view, as some natural cult places are located near boundaries and could have been more than just a local sacred place.
Furthermore, we are especially interested in how these natural cult places reacted to the Roman arrival and were changed by the brutal conquest. That is the reason behind the inclusion of Roman landscape and their votive inscriptions to our analysis, as those seem to be the most abundant evidence in Roman rural areas.
In conclusion, this study focuses on Celtiberian natural cult places evolution and their cultural adaptation during a period of severe social and political upheavals which finished with their integration in the new Roman cultural and social order (3rd c. BC – 1st c. AD).
Where do Rivers Dive? Giving Meaning to Subterranean Rivers in Ancient Greek Thought
Julie BALERIAUX (University of Oxford, Lincoln College)
Greek landscapes are the stage where the intersection of remarkable natural features and distinctive gods is laid before the eyes. One of the most notable natural phenomena taking place in some parts of Greece are subterranean rivers. They dive in sinkholes, then wonderfully reappear miles away. Pausanias records many of these, such as the singular journey of the Arcadian-born Alpheus. Ancient geographers such as Strabo, Diodorus and Eratosthenes were well aware of the existence of this type of streams: their fascinating banality even promoted them to the rank of recurrent theme in Greek geographical lore. In this paper, I will investigate how this visual natural phenomenon contributed to articulate the relationship between the world of humans and the divine through the diving of the rivers in sinkholes. As a starting point, I argue that an elaborate, complex connection was established between lands with subterranean streams and the underworld. In order to investigate the ramifications of this connection, I will first appeal to literary evidence describing the layout of Hades and Tartarus on a broad span of time – from Homer and Hesiod to Lucian –and show that wetness is a constant feature of the underworld in spite of all the contradictory descriptions. I argue that this idea, indeed recurrent in Greek thought, might have stemmed from the observation of the permeability of the ground to water, and especially the presence of sinkholes and other wells in Greece.
Then, once this context has been set, I will proceed to a case study by exploring the figure of Poseidon Hippios in Arcadia, and how the whole interplay between water and the underground is a key to understand his local personality. Indeed, I argue that besides his mainstream concern with horses and horse races, Poseidon Hippios in Arcadia is concerned with freshwater spurring from the underground. I will explore what this acquaintance with freshwater entails, from a strong relationship with both earthquakes and floods on the one hand to one with chthonic deities such as Demeter Melaina, Lousia and Erinys on the other hand. Altogether, this paper investigates the process by which an admirable natural feature is given meaning by being integrated into a broader mythical tradition, feeds into it, and how, as a result, this constructed meaning marks the landscape by materializing the tying of topographical reality with mythical space.
Sacred Landscapes of Picenum (Marche)
Eleanor BETTS (The Open University)
The Central Adriatic region of Picenum is a relatively unknown area of Roman and pre-Roman Italy, but it has a rich material culture comparable with that of the Etruscans and spanning the first millennium BCE (ca. 900-268 BC). This paper presents the sacred landscape and ritual practices of the Picenes, through a phenomenological lens. It explores the relationship between the material evidence (votive deposits of figurines and pottery, monumentalised inscriptions), the topographical landscape and the people who used them. It considers how the Picenes may have experienced their environment and given it meaning, with a particular emphasis on sacred sites which have a mountain peak, water feature or cave as their cult focus. Working with a specific case study from the region, some of the physiological responses people would have had to their sacred sites are reconstructed, in particular, how they were experienced via the senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. The premise is that, whilst they are culturally specific, human senses function in very specific and measurable ways, each dynamically contributing to the perception and definition of space and place. The relationship between ‘hereness’ and ‘thereness’ establishes what is inner/private, outer/public and where the boundary between these lies. These terms apply in two ways to sacred sites: the physically demarcated site (its boundaries and internal spaces, such as the chambers of a gallery cave), and the ‘hereness’ of the Picenes in their lived-in landscape versus the ‘thereness’ of the supernatural (such as the Otherworld of the ancestral spirits).
Divine Figures and Religious Landscapes in Classical Arcadia
María Cruz CARDETE (Complutense University of Madrid)
Religious systems tend to represent themselves as given realities which exist in illo tempore, and Greek religion is not an exception. Landscape is a meaningful network, a chain of social interaction and it is strongly united to beliefs because both are perceived as something given by gods or by ancestors and, therefore, inalterable, although both are human constructions. To confront the standard is not only a countercultural problem, but also a contra natura action which deserves a divine punishment. Landscape tend to be associated to natural elements by a false, but very successful, dichotomy nature-culture, but it is a cultural concept very deep established into society and its control is very important for religious and politic powers. To really understand these landscapes it is necessary to subvert its naturalization and to apprehend them as a cultural phenomenon, following the opposite way. It is necessary to deconstruct landscape and, with it, religion which helps to its constructions. We have to forget the traditional concept of landscape as a passive stage and use a new concept which understands landscape as a complex phenomenon in which are so important not only material and geopolitical elements, but also ideological and religious ones. The interaction between every one of its components lets us recognize landscape as a meaningful network, as a vital image.
Arcadia is one of the most manipulated images in the Ancient Greek world. We know it as a static image, a mythologized representation of romantic nature which holds every ancestral reality of the ancient Greece, especially in the religious field: human sacrifices, lycanthropy, therianthropy… These peculiar features are accompanied by an assumed underdevelopment in the polis configuration, a terrible poverty and a very deep cultural backwardness. However, even that fossilized and historically unsuitable tradition can be overcome and we can deconstruct the way which connects the divine figures and the sacred landscapes. I will use god Pan as the main idea, as an exceptional node in a contextual network in which economic aspects which ruled the life of peasants and livestock (sheep and goats, pasture, small game hunting…) interweave with places where such activities took place (mountains, pastures, borders, frontiers, caves…), building powerful mental and sacred landscapes. In fact, the nodal point in sacred Arkadian landscapes (extraurban sanctuaries, mountains, rivers, woods…) are deeply joined to social, economic and political necessities of communities and they change whit social rhythms.
God Pan is a key element of landscape, a mythical core of connection and transmission, a divine transposition of human referents (peasants, shepherds) which join community and territory. We can understand the economic practices through rites and to analyze the interactions between them and to decipher ideological lectures from religious traditions to study political problems through myths and cults. That is, from divine figure we can reach the sacred landscape, which is conformed in historical context, so it is modifiable, and it is full of symbols.
Worshipping the Landscape in Attic Drama
Elena CHEPEL (University of Reading)
Natural landscape is of crucial importance for understanding the experience of theatrical spectators in Greece. The theatre of Dionysos in Athens was embedded in a spectacular landscape on the slope of the Acropolis, from where the city itself, the surrounding land and mountains, the sea and the sacred hill of the patron goddess Athena could be seen. The natural environment evoked in tragic or comic plays through imagery and reflections, prompted the audience to experience the immediate surroundings in special ways. This paper investigates how the Attic landscape was incorporated into the plays through meta-theatrical utterances that were directly addressed to it.
Praising spaces and cities and manipulating them within the mythical narrative is not uncommon in Greek archaic literature. An example of addressing specific spaces in hymns can be found in Pindar’s Olympian 8. In comedy and tragedy, the action of greeting the land and the sky is expressed with a special verb, proskuneo, that reveals the ritual character of these addresses. Furthermore, such worship of the landscape is embedded in ritual scenes and contexts in Attic drama.
I shall investigate Plutos’ hail to the land of Attica and Acropolis in the Aristophanic play (vv.771-773) as an illustration of such address to the landscape which, presumably, would be perceived by the audience as ritual praise of sacred spaces. Upon his arrival from Epidauros, Plutos starts his speech with an elevated tragic-styled triple prayer to Helios, the land of Attica, and the hill of Pallas. The humour of the situation lies partly in the comic reversal of the natural order since the god (Plutos) prays to the landscape of the city of Athens. This would imply praising and praying also the people who inhabit it. Even more comic is Aristophanes’ representation of the god as a newly-obtained slave whose introduction to the household is accompanied by certain rituals. Through such interplay of ritual and literary contexts Aristophanes communicates to the audience the idea that Plutos from now on has become a slave in the oikos of Athens. His ritual praise of the surrounding landscape must have been perceived, in a comic way, as the indication of his new status. The hymnic praise of the landscape combined with an everyday ritual action of welcoming a new slave must have resulted in a somewhat special experience of the audience. Thus, the natural spaces surrounding the theatre of Dionysus are associated with the Athenians’ immediate home, and at the same time they are endowed with religious awe and ritual solemnity. Although the scene is a comic one, it reveals the special sacredness of the Athenian landscape.
Creating Sacred Landscape in Roman Phrygia: The cases of Laodicea on Lycos and Aizanoi
Gian Franco CHIAI (Freie Universität Berlin)
Coins represent a useful source to reconstruct the local traditions of the poleis in Roman Asia Minor. The cities, which received the privilege to mint coinage by the emperor, had images of gods or local heroes depicted on the coin reverses, that alluded to the local myths, founding and creating a (new) ancient Greek origin and identity for the city. This happened within the framework of the competition for eugeneia (noble origin) and archaiotes (antiquity), which characterized the social and political life and relationships among the cities in the Greek east during the time of the Second Sophistic. The creation of new mythical traditions, which aimed at founding a new cultural identity for the city, was connected to the construction of a new sacred landscape where these religious mythical traditions took place. Numerous cities in the Greek East claimed to be the birth place of Zeus, Dionysus, Artemis and Apollo: this was due to the appropriation of old mythical traditions, e.g. the one of Zeus’s birth, which were transferred for example from Crete to Phrygia in the territory of Laodicea upon Lycos or Aizanoi. This transfer is connected to the construction of a new sacred landscape in which Greek place names (replacing the old Anatolian ones) and local divinities such as the river gods were present, acting and participating in the local traditions and connected to the territory. This paper aims at analysing and reconstructing the creation and transformation of a new (mythical) sacred landscape in Roman Phrygia by considering the coinage minted in Laodicea and Aizanoi, each of which claimed the status as birth place of Zeus in competition to one another.
Sacred Landscape and the Principal of Duality: the Rock-cut Sanctuaries of the Western Iberian Peninsula
Maria João CORREIA SANTOS (University of Zaragoza)
A sacred place or a sanctuary is, by definition, a place of communion between gods and man, a place where re-ligio is possible. This idea is deeply related with the place itself and the symbolic perception of the landscape: a sacred place is never chosen, instead it reveals itself by certain aspects that, somehow, set it apart, such as its topography and location within the landscape, the presence of eminent rock outcrops, springs, or even the vegetal species it may well include, all aspects that are perceived and signified according to the cultural and religious background of a given society.
In the Iberian Peninsula, one particular type of sacred places emerges as quite significant by its large number and its morphological resemblances: the rock-cut sanctuaries. These places, always carved on the bare rock, are remarking by the association of several elements, like steps and pits or cavities, often connected by draining channels, which, sometimes, appear associated to rock engravings, rock inscriptions or Roman votive altars.
Assigning a chronology to these places is, somehow, a challenge, but according to the sites already studied, it appears to be a type of structures that emerge in Late Bronze Age, evolves during the Late Iron Age and reach the Roman period, incorporating then new religious practices, such as the writing.
These rock-cut sanctuaries are mainly concentrated in the region where the linguistics indicates a solid indo-European tradition, showing some patterns of location, internal organization and astronomical orientation that reflects a symbolic perception of the landscape, in what we could call a “principal of duality”. This principal is generally expressed by the intentional arrangement of the sacred place itself and the surrounding landscape, according to a dynamic of opposites, mostly based on the axis East-West.
The aim of this contribution is, therefore, to explore the features of the indigenous rock-cut sanctuaries and the symbolic criteria within these sacred places and the surrounding landscape, based on several examples – such is Cabeço das Fráguas, Botelhinha, Atalaya, Peñalba de Villastar, Canto Gordo y San Torcato, among others – bringing together the study of the archeological context and the epigraphic texts, crucial for the better understanding of the indigenous sacred places and their transition towards the Roman world.
From a Holy Wood to a Monumental Shrine: the Roman Regularizing of the Wild and Isolated Landscape of Nemi
Francesca DIOSONO (Università degli Studi di Perugia / Ludwig-Maximilian Universität, München)
A sacred forest inside the crater of a volcano with a central deep lake, this was the original form of the sanctuary of Diana at Nemi. A landscape that man has changed over the centuries to better adapt it to his own expressions of religiosity: organizing before the space of the wood, then building the temple dedicated to the goddess, then expanding the structures up to create the largest terraced sanctuary in ancient Latium. The reconstruction of this framework is possible due to new research and new excavations conducted in the area in recent years.
The Egyptian Elite Worldview and Building Programme in Ancient Thebes: Reconstructing Cosmic Landscapes
Angus GRAHAM (Institute of Archaeology, UCL, London)
The “entire city of Thebes on both sides of the Nile was essentially a huge temple complex dedicated to the cult of the primeval creator god / sun god Amon-Ra” (Johnson 1998, 66). On the east bank of the Nile the divine temple of Luxor was the place where Amon was born and reborn during the Opet Festival and 3km north the Karnak temple complex was the palatial residence of Amon-Ra for most of the year. On the western edge of the Theban floodplain / desert margin the Royal Cult Temples of the built primarily by the kings of the New Kingdom (c. 1550-160 BCE) was where Amon was worshipped as the deceased king. At the southern extent of these temples the ‘Genuine Mound of the West’ was where Amon and the seven other primeval gods of the Hermopolitan Ogdoad were believed to be buried.
O’Connor (1998) interprets the building programme as well as the ceremonial and cultic activities of king Amenhotep III (c. 1390-1352 BCE) as a reproduction of the cosmos at Thebes with the temples in the north part of representing ‘heaven’ and those in the south as the ‘earthly’ location of Amon-Ra. Two major annual festivals, the Opet Festival and Valley Festival, as well as a weekly festival linked the Divine Temples in the east and the temples associated with death and burial in the west. It was the ceremonial barge of Amon-Ra that functioned as the link between the monuments in these two annual festivals. The barge also equated symbolically to the solar bark travelling the skies and ‘encircling’ all that exists as Amon-Ra’s bark circulates through the city of Thebes.
The Egypt Exploration Society Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Survey (THaWS) began work in 2012 in the Theban (modern day Luxor) floodplain in an attempt of the elucidate the extent to which the Egyptians manipulated the Nile and floodplain through canal and basin construction linking the Nile and the temples together for use by Amon-Ra in his festival processions. Contemporary pictorial and written evidence from Egypt suggests that canals and basins were associated with the temples. However, until physical evidence of such a network of waterways and its nature is determined the ancient landscape cannot be confidently reconstructed and leaves a crucial gap in understanding of state management and manipulation of the area.
The project is carrying out geophysical survey (Electrical Resistivity Tomography, Ground Penetrating Radar and magnetometry), geoarchaeological survey (augering and coring) together with a topographic survey to investigate and understand the degree to which the ancient Egyptians were able and prepared to transform the floodplain into a sacred landscape. The paper will discuss the sacred Theban landscape of Amon-Ra and the results to date of the project (Graham et al. 2012; 2013).
Graham, A., Strutt, K.D., Emery, V.L., Jones, S., Barker. D.B. 2013. Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Survey, 2013, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 99, 35-52.
Graham, A., Strutt, K.D., Hunter, M.A., Jones, S., Masson, A., Millet, M., Pennington, B.T. 2012. Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Survey, 2012, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 98, 27-42.
Johnson, W. R. 1998. Monuments and monumental art under Amenhotep III: evolution and meaning, in D. B. O’Connor and E. H. Cline (eds.), Amenhotep III: perspectives on his reign, 63-94. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
O’Connor, D. B. 1998. The City and the World: Worldview and Built Forms in the Reign of Amenhotep III, in D. B. O’Connor and E. H. Cline (eds.), Amenhotep III: perspectives on his reign, 125-172. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Peaks of Power: Towards a Phenomenological Reconstruction of Minoan Ritual Landscape in North Central Crete
John HUGHES (University of Wales, TSD, Lampeter)
This paper focuses upon the evidence from peak sanctuary sites and their related network of locales, centring its attention upon the possible form of the ritual geography of north-central Crete. Some comparative analyses with ritual landscapes in other areas of the island is also attempted to help define the shape, character and possible mechanics of the peak sanctuary network clustered within the vicinity of Knossos and Archanes . Both ‘landscape’ and ‘phenomenological’ methodologies are employed to study inter-site relationships and issues such as lines-of-sight and the possible bodily experience of sites, as contexts within themselves for ritual action. Sites are also explored in terms of movement between locales to aid in the reconstruction of social, symbolic and other possible ritual meanings and uses for this network of peak cult ‘nodes of power’ that could have been activated throughout the Cretan Bronze Age. Particular attention is given to ritual activity at the peak sanctuary of Mount Juktas (Pisili Korfi – thought to be the first such site established on the island) and to the associated ‘temple’ site of Anemospilia, with its unique preservation of a human sacrifice still in progress when the site was hit by earthquake destruction. The paper aims to suggest fresh interpretations for the ‘temple’ site’s cultic meaning and use within the context of its surrounding ritual geography.
The Sacralization of Landscape as Memory Space in Early Medieval China
Thomas JANSEN (UWTSD Lampeter)
Using the poem “Ascending Mount Xian with Several Gentlemen” by Tang poet Meng Haoran (689 or 691–740) as the main example, my paper examines the interplay between environment, experience and memory in the production of sacred place in Medieval China. The first part of the paper will consist of an analysis of the poem to demonstrate how climbing a mountain to visit a historical monument goes hand-in-hand with contemplation of the physical scenery and reflections on history. All three aspects come together in the writing of poetry. Drawing on the work of David A. Palmer and Tim Ingold, I will argue for a dynamic process of sacralization in which visiting and ‘dwelling’ (Ingold) in a space are essential in the transformation of Mt. Xian into a sacred space of interaction between human society, non-human ecology, and cultural memory.
The Landscape of Romano-Celtic Religion in South-East Britain
Tony KING (University of Winchester)
The Romano-Celtic temples of Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire are well-known and generally well-explored. This talk will discuss recent work at Westhampnett (Sussex), Springhead and Westhawk (Kent), Wanborough (Surrey), Hayling Island (Hampshire) and elsewhere, which have given us many new insights into religious practice in the region, in particular the relationship with pre-Roman religious landscapes and practices. Comparisons will be made with other sites in Britain and Gaul, in order to contextualise the material culture of the region within the NW provinces of the Roman Empire. The talk will conclude by examining the architectural interpretation of the temples of Neptune and Minerva at Chichester and of Sulis Minerva at Bath – were they classical, Romano-Celtic or mixed in style?
A New Map of Classical Athens: The Use of Processional Routes as a Means to Create a Sense of Place
Astrid LINDENLAUF (Bryn Mawr University)
The sacred landscapes of the polis of Athens in the Classical period have been studied extensively over the past three hundred years. Consequently, the location of shrines and sanctuaries and their physical appearance are well-known. While these physical aspects are essential for reconstructing the topography of Athens, it is argued in this paper that it is equally important to explore the relationship between the people living in Athens and their city. Adopting a phenomenological approach that conceptualizes the body as a medium through which the world is experienced and understood, the main processional routes of the polis of Athens are analyzed and mapped onto a topographical map of Athens. This approach allows us to create a map of Classical Athens that is based on religious experiences and social identities and thus enables us to redefine notions of connectivity and proximity.
Development and Transformation of the Sacred Landscapes in the Iberian Southeast between the 4th and the 1st Centuries BC
Leticia LÓPEZ-MONDÉJAR (University of Murcia)
Beyond their importance in the development of cults and rituals, cult places had an essential role in the configuration of the Late Iron Age landscapes in the Iberian Peninsula. The Southeast is one of the most interesting peninsular areas to analyse the configuration of sacred landscapes during this period. On one hand, it was a very dynamic area in continuous connection with the Mediterranean world. On the other
hand, some of the most important peninsular Iron Age sanctuaries are located here. Unfortunately, studies have always focused on their archaeological record and structures, and they have paid scarce attention to their role within the Iberian landscapes of the Late Iron Age.
A first analysis of issues such as the development of those cult places, their position in the landscape or their links with the main sites of these territories provides a new and interesting view of them within the sacred landscapes created by the Iron Age communities. From the 4th century BC, cult places politically legitimized the territorial control of the elites and the oppida, and they were places of social and ideological aggregation for the community. Moreover they became elements of representation of the elite towards the local communities because of their strategic positions in the landscape.
Rome noticed soon their crucial role at both level, territorial and socio-political, and they became key sites in the conquest and integration process of the indigenous communities of the Iberian Southeast. During the first centuries of its presence in this area, Rome adapted the role of those cult places by keeping them as main elements of the landscape. They were used as means to both, to show the Roman wish to keep the
status quo in the area and its alliance with the local elites, and to spread the Roman models and ideology in the Iberian societies. In this way Rome re-adapted and manipulated the indigenous sacred landscapes and used them as key tools to integrate these territories.
This proposal aims to analyse the development and transformation of cult places in the Iberian Southeast during both the Late Iron Age and the Republican period. In this way, firstly, it will focus on the socio-political and territorial process which was underneath the development of the Iron Age sacred landscapes during the 4th-3rd centuries BC. Issues such as the creation, configuration and consolidation of those landscapes and the role of cult places within the territory will be addressed. Secondly, it will analyse the Roman adaptation, transformation and manipulation of those sacred landscapes from the beginning of the 2nd century BC.
Two study cases will be presented to illustrate both questions: the sanctuaries of La Luz and La Encarnación. The former was monumentalised by following Hellenistic patterns; the latter, which decoration was directly imported from Italy, on Roman patterns. Both are located in the current Region of Murcia and they constitute key examples to understand the development and transformation of the sacred landscapes in the Iberian Southeast between the 4th and the 1st centuries BC.
Archaic Tyrants and the Sanctuary of Apollo of Delos: Geopolitics in the Cyclades and the Appeal to Ionian Ethnicity
Matteo F. OLIVIERI (Università degli Studi di Milano)
In the second half of the VI B.C. the sanctuary of Apollo of Delos played a role in the
strategies of power of both Peisistratus, tyrant of Athens, and of Polycrates, tyrant of Samos: from opposite shores of the Aegean, both tyrants aimed at establishing authority in the Cyclades. The affinities between the two are significant: both established a personal alliance with Lygdamis the tyrant of Naxos; both conducted military naval expeditions in the Cyclades; both influenced the sanctuary and landscape of Delos. The sanctuary of Apollo of Delos should thus be considered as a structural component in the regional geopolitics of the Cyclades.
As a geographical centre of the archipelago and mid-point in the navigation across the Aegean, Delos stood as a physical and psychological watershed between Greece and Asia Minor. The initiatives of Peisistratus and Polycrates in favour of the sanctuary of Apollo aimed at securing– forcing – its approval: guarantee a moral justification to their military and political presence in the Cyclades.
I argue the tyrants’ religious initiatives are better understood analysing not only the religious referent – the sanctuary and priesthood – but moreover the audience they were addressing, i.e. the social group to which they were meant to be visible and renowned. The sanctuary and its festivals were in fact the fulcrum of the religious and cultural communion of the Greeks of Ionian ethnos since the archaic age. The tyrants’ actions in Delos were actually public demonstrations, addressed to the pan-Ionian society that frequented and communed at the sanctuary: they must be understood as messages of cultural and ethnic value, aimed at strengthening the consent to the tyrant’s power among the Ionian Greeks who inhabited the Aegean islands and coast of Asia Minor.
Affinities and differences among the two tyrants relate to their specific backgrounds, motives and objectives. Peisistratus’s claims could rest on the tradition that had Athens as the motherland of the Ionians. Polycrates’s decision marks a shift towards the maritime region, overlooking the other Microasiatic Ionian cultural hub of the Panionion at Mycale. Contemporary developments in the interstate system of the Near East should also be considered among their motives.
Peisistratus and Polycrates manipulated the sanctuary of Apollo and the landscape of Delos not by undertaking construction works, monumentalisation, or disproportionate dedications: Peisistratus purified the sanctuary by removing all tombs visible from the temple; Polycrates bound nearby Rheneia to Delos by a chain, as a dedication to the sanctuary, and attempted to re-institute the panegyris of the Ionians. These interventions only in a small part regard the visible and practical features of the landscape, and they rely on symbolic items and on regulations: they are modifications of the religious, psychological and social meaning of the land. The tyrants modify the socially attributed value of the land in, and into, the sacred sphere; they re-define the use, or the non-use, of the sacred site.
Renewal and Reconfiguration: Interpreting the Ilissos area of Athens in the 2nd century AD
Sarah PLATT (University of Oxford, Brasenose College)
During the 2nd century AD the Ilissos area of Athens gradually changed in nature from a quiet suburb inhabited only by ancient temples and various small cult sites, to a vibrant, urban space, filled with new temples and civic amenities such as baths and a gymnasium. The Ilissos area is undeniably ancient, the name of the river itself a remnant of pre-history, and the district is described by Thucydides as the original settlement of Athens in the time before Theseus. Until Sulla’s sack in 86BC the area lay outside the city walls, and the cults located in the area reflect this liminal, almost rural nature. Both the north and south banks of the Ilissos had been populated with the shrines of distinctly rural gods since classical times or earlier: Artemis Agrotera, Achelous, Pan, the Nymphs, and the north wind Boreas all had their place along this section of the Ilissos, their shrines or temples described by Plato and Pausanias. As well as being rural gods these deities were closely associated with the Persian Wars, and their cults were established in gratitude for the aid they provided to the Athenians. The Ilissos area is also associated with the first arrival of deities in Athens: the Delphinion was the site of Theseus’ first entrance into the city, while the temple of Artemis was built at the place where the Athenians believed the goddess first hunted when she came to Athens from Delos.
From the Acropolis, the Ilissos area is reached by passing through the Arch of Hadrian, and this monument along with the adjacent Temple of Olympian Zeus mark Hadrian as the figurehead of the 2nd century activity in this area. Pausanias’ account of the Ilissos, combined with the physical alignment of classical and Roman buildings, speaks of a lively integration of old and new rather than an imposition of new buildings on a crumbling or decrepit area of the city. In this paper, I argue that the choice of this area for a remarkable construction project at this time owes much to its ancient character, the preservation of its cults, and Plato’s immortalising description of the area in the Phaedrus. I suggest that the 2nd century structures, including the Temple of Zeus and Hera Panhellenios, complement the existing sacred identity of the area, and that the rural character of the local gods and their associations with the Persian Wars remained as significant in the 2nd century AD as in the 5th century BC. Finally, I evaluate the changing nature of an ancient sacred space and explore how the Ilissos area was reconfigured to suit the narrative of Athenian renewal in the 2nd century AD.
“Eyesore of Piraeus” or “Shining Star of Zeus Hellanios:” Aigina-island in the Eye of a Beholder
Irene POLINSKAYA (King’s College London)
The island of Aigina, 90 km2, situated in the middle of the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea between the Argolic and Attic peninsulae, has a long history of human habitation. At the start of the Early Iron Age, 10th-9th centuries BCE, when the social structures of the historical period were just beginning to form on the island, its landscape had already been marked by human activity for some 3 millennia. The following 500 years, leading up to the time when our first textual sources on historical Aiginetans appear, saw the development of social and religious landscape that would become an inextricable part and parcel of the Aiginetan identity.
In the paper I will discuss the diachronic stages (10th-7th; 7th-6th; 5-4th centuries) in the development of the sacred landscape of the Aiginetan island-polity in relation to its socio-political context, and highlight the role of several cults and cult sites in the production of local identity. The relationship of cult sites to landscape appears to be different in each of three time periods, and there seems to be a correlation with the social functions of deities worshipped at each. Several cult sites that allow an in-depth exploration of the relationship between landscape, cult, and identity are: “the mountain of Zeus,” the Oros, as it is known in the sources, the highest peak on the island, located in its south-central part, which gave rise to the description of Aigina as “the shining star of Zeus Hellanios”; the sanctuary of Aphaia on a plateau overlooking the Bay of Agia Marina on the east side of the island; and an inland cult site where two deities, Damia and Auxesia, stolen from the Aiginetan neighbours, Epidaurians, had their twin-temple sanctuary.
The puzzle that I propose to address in the paper has to do with the substance of identity discourse associated with each of three cult sites. This discourse can be reconstructed from explicit textual sources, from iconography of monumental decoration, and from other architectural and topographic indicia. Although the sites and the deities worshipped there were part of one local pantheon, and although the people who worshipped at these sites can be confidently considered members of one and the same religious community, there is surprisingly little overlap between narrative traditions and symbolic values attached to these sites. This raises a question about the nature of local identity and its discursive expression: are we not dealing with one people and should not a consistent identity be expressed at all religious site of their territory? An answer emerges in the context of diachronic developments in the local social and cultic topography of Aigina from the 10th to the 5th centuries BCE, and in comparison with other ancient Greek regions, notably Attica and the Argolid, Aigina’s neighbours.
Aelius Aristides: Sacred Landscapes between Community and the Individual
Maria PRETZLER (University of Swansea)
Aelius’ Aristides Sacred Tales provide a unique insight into one man’s relationship with the divine, specifically the god Asclepius. What is striking about this text is what an important role place and landscape plays in Aristides’ personal religious life: places are re-interpreted and imbued with meaning based on special spiritual experiences. Aristides also gives meaning to places by making them part of his personal devotional practice. Occasionally, he tells us that a whole crowd of people were there to witness his religious exploits, so one might argue that, almost like some early Christian saints just a few generations managed to do later, this one man’s religious example might have changed their perception of specific places as well.
My paper will introduce the work and its most remarkable features, and then develop an interpretation which shows how ancient Greek religion, Second Sophistic culture and one individual’s obsessions combine to give us a remarkable and unique insight into the links between spirituality and landscape in the second century AD. I draw particularly on Pausanias to illustrate some of the background and to explain the wider context, in order to present some general conclusions about Greek religious attitudes in the Roman imperial period, as well as explaining some unique features of Aristides’ fascinating text.
Analytical Scale Matters: Topographical Embedding and “Catchment Areas” of Graeco-Roman Shared Sacred Places in the Hauran (Southern Syria)
Anna-Katharina RIEGER (Max-Weber Center for Advanced Cultural Studies, University of Erfurt)
Archaeological research on sacred places in the Graeco-Roman Near East often concentrates on distinguishing influences from East or West, on monuments themselves or on interferences between city, sanctuaries and society.
However, the Near East is strongly shaped by regionalized landscapes as spatial entities that are – on a supra-regional level – connected by century old economic and social networks. This particular characteristic rather seldom results in studies that adopt a perspectives on shared sacred spaces questioning their topographically determined connectivity, their attractiveness to different groups of agents, their “catchment areas”, and the spatial shaping of the places themselves.
Thus, my paper will explore selected sanctuaries in Southern Syria (Hauran) concentrating on their embedding in local, communal, regional and interregional settings. I will reconstruct the spatial patterns of several sanctuaries as well as their topographical infrastructure, looking for their connections and interdependencies with other places through archaeological material and architectonical remains.
This approach allows for analyzing in how far different shared sacred spaces are reached by different or homogenous groups of agents due to their connectivity and topographical embedding, and how these groups formed the sacred spaces and vice versa. A visualization and mapping of “catchment areas”, of incoming users and outgoing influences of sacred spaces to other places, cities, villages or social groups will be undertaken to result in an assessment of the different social and topographical scales and networks, the shared sacred spaces in Hauran were embedded in.
The Creation of Christian Landscapes in Early Medieval Galicia
José Carlos SÁNCHEZ PARDO and Marco GARCÍA (University of Santiago de Compostela)
This presentation aims to explore some of the patterns that lie behind the reuse, adaptation and transformation of earlier cult places and sacred landscapes by the Christianity in Galicia (Northwest Spain) during the Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages (5th-10th centuries AD).
Although the Christianization process was not only based on the adaptation of old religious structures (as there was important place for innovation too within a new historical context of social changes), an increasing corpus of archaeological and textual evidences show a clear overlapping of many early medieval churches over prechristian cult places and religious spaces, as well as the intentional reuse of Prehistoric and Roman archaeological elements during these centuries in this region. However, archaeological and anthropological parallels show that traditional single explainations of “continuity” are not valid in order to explain these processes or religious transformations of the landscape. In this sense, new methodological approaches are necessary in order to move towards wider and more complete frames of interpretation.
In this presentation, we will analyze and compare 2 examples of reuse and transformation by the Christianity of earlier sacred places and spaces in Late Antique and Early Medieval Galicia. These cases are part of the Marie Curie research project “Early Medieval Churches: History, Archaeology and Heritage” (2013-2017). This goal will be approached by means of an interdisciplinary perspective that combines archaeological and textual evidences, landscape study, saint dedications and etnographical/popular traditions associated to these places.
The first case explores how a whole sacred landscape with roots in the Iron Age was adapted and transformed around the legend of Santa Mariña and the construction of the “Basilica de la Asuncion” (Allariz, Ourense). This church was built in the Late Antiquity over an Iron Age ritual and thermal structure, and a range of sacred places of the surrounding landscape were modified in order to support the implementation of this new cult.
The second case will focus on the chapel of San Mamede dos Mártores (Valga, Pontevedra). This small church, surrounded by a late antique necropolis, preserves early medieval standing walls and contained a roman ara dedicated to Mercury. Interestingly, this place is associated to popular traditions which claim that it was a focal point for the Priscilianism (an early christian movement strongly linked to synchretism and open air cult places).
The study of these cases suggests that well-planified strategies of ideological and symbolical power existed behind the reuse and adaptation of some places and spaces of prechristian Galicia. In this sense, the single and extended idea of “survival” must be rejected as the very facts examined show a deep transformation. However, it seems that the christian narratives did not use the Iron Age and Roman landscape randomly, because the previous sacred landscape was also structured. This means that the clerics and social elites responsible of the evangelization of rural Galicia had a deep understanding of the local conditions in order to change them within the new historical coordinates and the dominant Christian culture.
Sacred Buildings Invested with Economic Meaning: the Case of the Athenian Acropolis
Rita SASSU and Rosa DI MARCO (La Sapienza, University of Rome)
The Greek sanctuary should be regarded as a geographically delimitated area, conceived as a sacred place focused on the interaction between the hu¬man community and the divine world. This human-divine relationship was pri¬marily implemented through the ritual and, more specifically, through the sacrifi¬cial practice and related activities. Nevertheless, the sanctuary was a complex system, whose relevance was not circumscribed to the religious sphere, as it was closely related to the social, politi¬cal and economic life of the polis. In fact, it proved to be a fundamental factor for the birth of the Greek polis, for the establishment of its socio-political cohesion, for the reinforcement of its collective yet unitary identity and, lastly, for its political and economic existence. Hence, cult practice was an instrument to worship divine beings and, meanwhile, to build and to strengthen the city-state’s social bonds, by corroborating citizens’ sense of belonging to a community which per¬formed the same religious acts, as well as to manage the collective economic system in pre-Hellenistic period.
All these aspects are clearly reflected in sacred landscape and topography, particularly in the period between the VII and the V century B.C.
The paper intends to analyze how societal and, above all, economic needs transformed and influenced Greek sacred landscape during the Archaic and Classical period, by considering Athens’ Acropolis as an exemplary case study, due both the consistency of available literary, epigraphic and archaeological available documentation and to the multi-faced role played by its sacred structures. In fact, the latter were built and spatially organized to meet he polis’ necessity to create a financial collective deposit, to be used to face consistent or unplanned expenses (such as those related to war situations), thus leading to the creation of a temple, namely the Parthenon, characterized by a main economic purpose .
Sanctuaries’ impact on ancient Greek economics has not been properly hitherto addressed, although sacred areas greatly influ¬enced the entire economic system and, on the other end, economic system greatly influenced sacred areas’ architecture and landscape.
Conversely, thanks to a joint epigraphic and archaeological analysis, it is possible to observe how some edifices were characterized by a ‘less religious’ and ‘more profane’ role, as they were intended to preserve precious goods, thus serving as a sort of wealth-storage depository for the whole collectivity. These edifices can be regarded as ‘temple-trésor’: This term was firstly introduced by G. Roux, meaning a temple which not necessarily served as a cult building, but which had a relevant economic functions as a place where collective funds could be kept; in this regards, Roux significantly took the Parthenon as an example.
Therefore, the paper aim is to examine how some sacred architectures were invested with an economic meaning, in order to investigate the different significances attributed to buildings kept inside the Acropolis. The ultimate scope is to study the relation between public economy and sacred landscape in Archaic and Classical Greece.
Man – Nature – Religion: Thoughts Concerning Development, Form and Perception of Sacred
Florian SCHIMPF (University of Mainz)
All things are full of gods, wrote Thales from Milet. But obviously their presence has not been apparent and permanently certified everywhere. My thesis aims to compile a chronological, geographical and contextual differentiated concept of the link between nature and religion in Hellenic Asia Minor. Based on the archaeological and literary evidences, the main focus lies on considering the questions of why and how geogenic nature has been charged with sacrificial meaning and so became an important sign for the presence of gods in classical antiquity.
Subsequently, the question which features distinguish sacred landscapes ‒ such as peaks, caves, rocks (e. g. Priene, figure left), springs or rivers which were selected as special sites of communication with the gods – shall be considered. Furthermore possible factors like observable extraordinariness, usefulness (resources, security), a topographical reference to human settlement or territory, an event or immemorial traces of cult attestation shall be examined, labeled and evaluated.
The aim is a synthesis of the archaeological and the literary apparatus that conceptualizes factors of sacralization of nature elements, and to shed light upon the complex of ‘sacred landscape’ in Asia Minor in its entirety. My paper shall concentrate on illustrating those thoughts by examining one group of natural sanctuaries.
I will focus on the complex of rock-sanctuaries. Although many local rock-cults are well known, studies lack extensive considerations. Due to the absence of comprehensive thoughts, I would present the phenomenon of rock sanctuaries by putting selected representatives in a wider context. In view of Asia Minor’s geographical as well as cultural diversity it would not be surprising to reveal differentiating concepts of sacred nature. A comparison of its western coast with its hinterland may illustrate differences concerning development, form and perception of sacred spaces (e. g. differences between designs, architectural as well as furnishings, worshiped gods, locations, times of bloom, experiences) from Hellenistic to Roman times. Considering time and landscape, there are numerous questions I would like to represent and discuss.
The Temple of Contrada Marafioti in Locri Epizephiri: New Approaches and Information
Vivianna SIA (Roma Tre University)
Calabria is one of the richest areas in terms of natural beauty, sandy and stony beaches, and cristal clear waters. All of these aspects probably attracted several Greek populations, who came here to settle and bring their culture.
The colonies founded by the Greeks became rich and powerful, and gave to the area the well deserved appellation of Magna Graecia: “If we lived around the middle of the 1st Century A.D., we would have considered the ancient colony of Locri Epizephiri as the gateway to the Ancient Greece”1. This is how Plinio talked about the ancient town of Locri Epizephiri, rising on the Jonic coast of Calabria, around the 673 B.C. Settled in a strategic point, Locri Epizephiri was characterized by various events: from the splendour of the Archaic Age and the alliance with Syracuse, to the difficult impact with the Roman world; from the dimension of municipium to the unavoidable decline caused by Saracen invasions.
Locri Epizephiri was famous for its intense sacredness, specifically addressed to female deity. But a particular attention was directed to Aphrodite and Persephone, in fact, these two deities were assimilate, giving on a particular syncretism. Persephone was not only the underworld goddess, but also the guarantor of those moments that spell out the rites of passage, from virgin to bride, characteristic that refers to erotic world, a peculiar aspect of the Goddess Aphrodite.
Moreover, another particular element to not forget is, the large diffusion of the Orphic cult in this colony, thanks to the presence of the Pitagorism. In regards to, we will focus on the building of the Sanctuary of Contrada Marafioti and to its large clay group named “the young knight supported by sphinx”, discovered by Paolo Orsi on 1911.
The temple with Est-Ovest orientation, erected in the 6th Century B.C., was located upstream of the ancient theater, probably all over the Esopis hill, where the first colonists settled. During the time, many excavations were realized in order to give an answer to several questions, related to this building and to the divinity worshipped, but with very poor success. The valuable work of Paolo Orsi, which investigated the area on 1911, was very important for this kind of study. Thanks to Orsi’s journal and to the study of the landscape, of the sources and of the cults developed in this colony, we could try to understand the real motivations that inspired the realization of this masterpiece, the reasons for choosing this particular area of the city and the god this temple was dedicated to.
Monumentalization of watery cults in Tarraconensis and Lusitania
Francisco MARCO SIMÓN (University of Zaragoza)
This paper focuses on the monumentalization in the Roman period of suposedly ancestral sanctuaries related to watery cults both in Tarraconensis and Lusitania through the analysis of three case-studies. The first is the so-called “Fonte do Ídolo” in Braga/Bracara Augusta, an imponent rock sanctuary where the god Tongus Nabiagus is mentioned. The second is a cultic place in Tarazona/Turiaso where the goddess Minerva (a probable interpretatio Romana of Silbis, the ancient patron deity of the city) was venerated. The third place is connected with confluence rituals as documented in the “Lintel of the Rivers” near Mérida/Emerita Augusta, which mentions the gods Anas and Baraecus (personified in the Rivers Guadiana and its affluent Albarregas). The three cases pose interesting questions arisen from those theonyms and their iconographical expressions.
There and Back Again: Performing the Landscape in Minoan Crete
Katy SOAR (The Open University)
At least 25 peak sanctuaries which were in use during the Middle and Late Bronze Age on the island of Crete (c. 1900-1470 BC). Despite the large amount of information regarding the sites themselves, and the actions that took place within them, little work has been done on the experience of travelling to these sites and the actions and performances which occurred as part of this. The aim of this paper is to take a performative approach to these journeys, and to show that performance space is not just restricted to the spatially confined or specifically built architectural spaces of these sanctuaries, but can also be found within the landscape itself and the movement of people through it as they reached these cult spaces. The route to the sanctuary on Mount Juktas, the most famous of all Minoan peak sanctuaries, will be presented in order to understand these sanctuaries and performances in a more dynamic fashion. As specific topographic features, peak sanctuaries are part of the landscape in a formal sense, while various forms of archaeological evidence also suggest a performative function. By bringing these two strands together, I hope to sketch out an idea of the performative landscape of Crete, which offers a more dynamic view of the interrelationship between the physical, the embodied and the sacred landscapes.
Various geographical and spatial markers would have been passed by these people en route to the summit. Sites such as cemeteries, sacred caves, as well as the route itself and the spatial location of the shrine, would have acted as symbolic cues, transforming the natural landscape into a performance space by the enactment of certain themes. The movement of people through different forms of landscape transforms the natural environment into a stage for the enactment of relations, memories and ideologies.
Transforming Landscapes: Exploring the Creation of a Sacred Landscape in Northeast Cyprus at the Beginning of the Late Bronze Age
Louise STEELE (University of Wales, TSD, Lampeter)
The transitional Middle-Late Bronze Age on Cyprus (c.1700-1600 BC) was a period of seemingly violent social upheaval, characterised by widespread destructions and the abandonment of long-occupied villages and burial grounds. Alongside this backdrop of change there was increasing competition over social and economic capital: agricultural land, control over land routes, access to new maritime trading markets, and above all control over the island’s rich copper resources – all of which were vigorously manipulated by newly emergent elite groups within the small communities on the island.
During this transitional period the ceremonial landscape of northeast Cyprus was dramatically transformed by the construction of new centres for ritual performance, providing communal spaces in which new social relations were mediated. Most spectacular was Korovia Palaeoskoutella, a special burial location covered with earth and rubble tumuli; other ritual centres include the human-built mound and podium at Phlamoudhi Vounari, and in LC IIA the small, open-air enclosure at Ayios Iakovos Dhima. These sites all illustrate the increasing importance of communal gatherings and ceremonial performance at special locations within their modified landscape.
Clearly then, this was a rapidly changing social world in which complex relations were being renegotiated at various levels. In such a period of social ferment we might expect that repeated ritual and ceremonial performance would be manipulated as a means of reifying the new social order. In this paper I will explore how the creation of a new modified ceremonial landscape was incorporated within ritual practice, and how this was used to mediate relations within and between settlements in this specific region of Cyprus.
Sacred Landscapes of Roman Dacia
Csaba SZABÓ (University of Pécs)
After Dacia was conquered by the Romans in A.D. 106. it was populated ex toto orbe Romano with colonists. In the next one and a half century the province became an important military, commercial and cultural melting pot as every Roman province, inhabited not only by dozens of ethnic groups but also with their cultural and religious ideas. Although the province was part of the Roman Empire only for 170 years, the presence of 150 divinities prove the dynamics of the Roman population and a complex system of religious and economic network. The geographical features of the province – the presence of the Danube and the main rivers from the inner land, the gold and salt-mines, the endless forests, the high mountains of the Carpathians and the thermal baths – determined the religious life of the province. Having discussed the main features and elements of the Transylvanian geography, which highly determined and influenced social, cultural and religious developments in Dacia, it is the aim to discuss the typology of the sacred landscapes in Dacia, presenting some sacral areas where nature was highly integrated in the sacral landscape and topography (Germisara, Ad Mediam), created as an artificial landscape (urban religious places in Apulum) or imported as a very specific landscape and ideological expression of an ethnic group (Alburnus Maior).
‘God is on the journey too.’: Secular Experiences of a Pilgrimage Landscape
Andy VALDEZ-TULLETT (University of Leicester)
Pilgrimage is defined as a journey of spiritual significance to a location that is of importance to a person’s faith and beliefs however, studies usually focus on the role played by shrines at the destination and the motivation of the pilgrim (e.g. Eade and Sallnow 1991; Sumption 2011; Turner and Turner 1978). This paper will instead explore the role of the journey in the creation of the spiritual. Focusing on how the journey is fashioned by supporting infrastructure and experienced through the traveller’s interaction with the landscape and fellow travellers. It will draw upon models of ‘mobilities’ from the work of Urry (2007) and kinesis, Aristotle’s fundamental perception of movement. It will apply these to contemporary experiences of secular travels along pilgrimage trails to Santiago de Compostela. It hypothesises that the underlying engagement during such journeys prepares the pilgrim for their sacred encounter and that similar engagement through travel can therefore be seen to form the basis of a spiritual encounter regardless of destination or purpose.
Eade, J., & Sallnow, M. J. (Eds.). (1991). Contesting the sacred: The anthropology of Christian pilgrimage. Routledge.
Sumption, J. (2011). Pilgrimage. Faber & Faber.
Turner, V., & Turner, E. L. (1978). Image and pilgrimage in Christian culture. Columbia University Press.
Urry, J. (2007). Mobilities. Polity.
Meaningful Landscapes: the Appropriation of Space Through Rock Art
Joana VALDEZ-TULLETT (University of Southampton / CEAACP)
Whilst Prehistoric domestic remains are difficult to identify due to their perishable character, the use of space by Prehistoric communities can be discerned by their willingness to enculture their landscape through the addition of visual markers. Since the Palaeolithic period, communities have left evidence of their domestication of the landscape through the inscription of symbols, whether in open-air environments or secluded places such as caves.
Although it is difficult to grasp the original intentions for the creation of rock art, the location of the sites seem to be of prime importance. In some occasions, the same places bear evidence of successive occupations, demonstrating that these were important for peoples of varied cultural backgrounds throughout time. The coexistence of prehistoric graphics with others inscribed on rocks in posterior prehistoric and historic periods is not rare, denoting an appropriation of space and on occasion of the symbols.
This paper aims to explore the diachronic of sites by temporarily dispersed communities, materialized through the appropriation of symbols carved or painted on rocky surfaces. The original meaning of the depictions may be lost but the places where the symbols were created pertains importance, suggesting an adoption, adaptation and transformation of cosmogonies that confer importance to these cultural, but at the same time, natural landscapes.
The paper will be illustrated with examples of sites such as the Rock Shelter of the river Tua (Portugal) where graphic manifestations from the Palaeolithic through to the 19th Century can be found.
Creation and conservation of Sacred Landscapes: Amarna and Abydos – keeping the spirit alive?
Katharina ZINN (UWTSD Lampeter / University of Swansea)
The religious landscapes of Amarna and Abydos exhibit fundamental differences concerning their elementary characteristics: one (Amarna) is a founded, planned, and short lived sacred city; the other (Abydos) a religious centre which grew and developed throughout the entire span of Egyptian history. Comparing these two seemingly opposite sites might help to answer important question of why sacred landscapes were able to survive. Potential factors which might have been shaped / altered the site and therefore also the identity of the place, could be royal impetus, special geographic features, as well as the connection between and separation of profane and sacred areas. A related question is in which way the public (elite and non-elite) was involved in the religious activities happening in these landscape sites (be it through living there, going on pilgrimages, sending substitutes etc.).
Examining these questions might bring us closer to the understanding of the complex nature of royal and private religion as manifested in sacred landscapes in the polytheistic sphere of ancient Egypt. The case of Amarna seems to suggest that setting up a sacred landscape (the transformation of a natural sanctuary to an architectural sanctuary via territorial organisation) might be difficult, but to sustain such a site calls for an imbedded identity which needs to be regularly re-confirmed, adapted and assimilated to bring it in accordance with the identities of the people using the ideas represented by this landscape – as in the case of Abydos. This problem could be differently phrased: Is the adaption or persistence of a site’s identity the reason why Amarna collapsed and Abydos was sustained?