How to bury somebody – Conference on Late Antique funerary research

Funerary practices and epitaphs are key factors in the understanding of cultural transformation processes. Late Antiquity was doubtlessly one of such transitional phases. Still, the knowledge of burial habits of this period is very uneven. Researchers at Heidelberg University’s Collaborative Research Centre 933 “Material Text Cultures” have organized a conference to draw a more complete picture of sepulchral habits and to give a Mediterranean-wide overview of Late Antique funerary landscapes. The event with the title “Funerary Landscapes of the Late Antique oecumene – Contextualizing Epigraphic and Archeological Evidence of Mortuary Practices” will be held from May 30 to the 1st of June in Heidelberg.

Evidence from the tombs and their surroundings is a key factor in our understanding of continuity and transformation processes on multiple cultural levels.

“Especially in times of social, political and religious change, evidence from the tombs and their surroundings is a key factor in our understanding of continuity and transformation processes on multiple cultural levels”, according to the two organizers of the conference Stefan Ardeleanu and Jon C. Cubas Díaz (both members of sub-project A01 ‘Lettered and Inscribed. Inscriptions in Urban Space in the Greco-Roman Period and Middle Ages’). Although hundreds of necropoleis, coemeterial churches and individual tombs are known across the Late Antique World, a holistic documentation including epigraphic, iconographic, spatial and social analyses, as well as anthropological examination and natural scientific data, is mostly lacking. The conference will bring together 30 specialists from 11 countries and various disciplines.

“Through this conference we intend to give – for the first time – a Mediterranean-wide overview on Late Antique funerary landscapes, not only examining global trends, but also local and regional habits.”

“Through this conference we would like to make a start at filling in some lacunae on Late Antique funerary research”, Stefan and Jon explain. “First, we will try to link as many disciplines as possible in order to draw a more complete picture of sepulchral habits of Late Antiquity as hitherto has not been done. Secondly, we intend to give – for the first time – a Mediterranean-wide overview on Late Antique funerary landscapes, not only examining global trends, but also local and regional habits.” Last but not least, the conference will help to illustrate the potential of new contextual approaches: questions on the materiality and design of epitaphs and tombs, their visibility, perception and accessibility will be central guidelines of the conference.

For more information please contact:
Stefan Ardeleanu (st.ardeleanu@gmail.com)
Jon C. Cubas Díaz (jon.cubas.diaz@gmail.com)




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