15 February 2023 - 15 February 2023
4:00PM - 6:00PM
Free to all attendees
Antony Lee from Durham University will be delivering a talk on how religion in Roman Britain is represented in British museums, and how these presentations are being effected by new scholarship.
The archaeology of Roman Britain is a common aspect of British museum displays, with evidence of religious beliefs and practices featuring prominently. The way that religion in Roman Britain is viewed, however, is changing. Post-Colonial archaeologies are re-examining cultural interaction, the creation of hybrid communities both real and imagined, and the integration of ritual activity into daily life. Meanwhile, contemporary concepts of vernacular religion are being increasingly applied to ancient practices, making us think differently about the complex ways individuals interact with and express their beliefs, and how religious activities are inextricably entwined with wider social, political and economic processes.
This talk discusses how museums are engaging with these changing and increasingly personal perceptions of religion. Are displays moving beyond binary distinctions of ‘Romans’ and ‘natives’ and of the worship of harmonious ‘melting pots’ of named gods and goddesses at formal temple sites to consider the lived experiences of religious worshippers? Are museums exploring religious beliefs and practices as the diverse tangible and affective experiences of individuals rather than merely a category of archaeological typology?