jump to navigation

CFP: The Afterlife of Roman Sculpture II 28 June 2010

Posted by Troels in : Archaeology,Conferences,Late Antiquity , add a comment


International Seminar
Department of Classical Archaeology, Aarhus University
Friday 25 March 2011

In 2008, Aarhus University hosted a seminar on “The Afterlife of Roman Sculpture: Late Antique Perceptions and Practices” that aimed to look at the variety of late antique perceptions of statuary, focusing on a few select regional case studies – from Alexandria in the east to Britain in the north – , and such diverse phenomena as collecting, deposition and destruction. This follow-up seminar is envisaged as providing an opportunity for both senior and junior scholars to arrive at a broader understanding of the fate of Graeco-Roman statuary during the period between the fourth and the seventh centuries AD. It is hoped that by integrating both textual and archaeological approaches, as well as empirical and theoretical methodologies, it is possible to provide a rich and multifaceted picture of the changes in the sculptural landscape of the Classical world.

The seminar will consist of three keynote papers by Prof. John Pollini (USC, Los Angeles), Prof. Franz Alto Bauer (LMU, Munich) and Prof. Ortwin Dally (DAI, Berlin), and five 30-minute papers. Abstracts for papers and short CVs are therefore invited for submission by 8 September 2010. Accepted speakers will be provided with full funding including travel costs and accommodation at Aarhus, thanks to the generous support of the Danish Research Council.

Please send proposals to Troels Myrup Kristensen (klatmk@hum.au.dk), Assistant Professor, PhD, Department of Classical Archaeology, Aarhus University

Visiting Abu Mina – A Coptic Pilgrimage Site 6 January 2010

Posted by Troels in : Late Antiquity,Photography,Travel , add a comment

Det nye kloster i Abu Mina
The new monastic complex at Abu Mina, as seen from the ruined Northern Basilica. Photo: TMK, May 2008.

In a post last month, I mentioned my emerging interest in pilgrimage, especially from as seen from the perspective of material and visual culture. This interest stems, at least in part, from visits to sites that are still frequented by worshippers. The Coptic monastery at Abu Mina, 45 km southwest of Alexandria, is one such site. Many visitors on the way to the archaeological site of Abu Mina, one of the most spectacular early Christian sites in the Mediterranean, stop by the modern monastery (the monastery’s official website is in Arabic only). Architecturally it may not live up to everyone’s expectations of an “authentic” Coptic monastery, but the life that its clergy and patrons bring more than makes up for it. Their activities can be only be imagined when visiting the archaeological site.

Den nye kirke i Abu Mina

Interior shot of the new Cathedral of St Menas that holds his relics. Photo: TMK, May 2008.

The new monastery has many of the facilities that the ancient pilgrimage site would have had. It has several very large dining halls and dormitoria for visitors. The “secondary” activities that we imagine taking place in sanctuaries, such as trade and industry, can also be observed. During my visit, I was, for example, very surprised to find that the monks now market their own series of household products!

Det nye kloster i Abu Mina
The “old” visitors’ rest house at the “new” Abu Mina monastic complex. Photo: TMK, May 2008.

Abu Mina-klostrets egen serie af husholdningsprodukter
Abu Mina household products on sale. Note the logo with the camel! Photo: TMK, May 2008.

Happy New Year! 4 January 2010

Posted by Troels in : General,Late Antiquity , add a comment

Mosaic depicting an old woman in the Barcelona Archaeological Museum. Photo: TMK, December 2009.

Here’s wishing all the best for the New Year to all readers out there! Next week, I’m off to Rome for our “Using Images in Late Antiquity” conference at the Danish Academy. It should be very interesting and I also hope to catch a few exhibitions while in Rome. Both programme and abstracts for the conference are available from the link.

Some professional highlights for me in 2009:

  • – Successfully defending my PhD dissertation “Archaeology of Response. Early Christian Destruction, Mutilation and Transformation of Pagan Sculpture in Late Antiquity” on 16 December.
  • – Seeing the publication of two articles: “Embodied Images: Christian Response and Destruction in Late Antique Egypt” in Journal of Late Antiquity, and “Religious Conflict in Late Antique Alexandria: Christian Responses to ‘Pagan’ Statues in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries AD” in a new anthology on Alexandria.

    – Spending eight very productive and inspiring months in Cambridge.

    Public PhD Defense 16 December 3 December 2009

    Posted by Troels in : Archaeology,Late Antiquity,Thesis Rant , 8 comments

    Just a brief announcement that I will be defending my dissertation on 16 December, more here and here. The examiners at a PhD defense are in Denmark (and in Sweden and Norway as well, I think) called “opponents” which gives certain connotations to boxing matches or the like. We’ll see how it goes…

    Troels Myrup Kristensen will defend his PhD dissertation “Archaeology of Response: Christian Destruction, Mutilation and Transformation of Pagan Sculpture in Late Antiquity” on Wednesday 16 December 1-4 pm.

    The official opponents are:
    Dr. Peter Stewart, Reader in Classical Art and its Heritage, Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK.

    Dr. Eric Varner, Associate Professor, Departments of Classics and Art History, Emory University, Atlanta, USA.

    Mag. art. Birte Poulsen, Associate Professor, Institute of Anthropology, Archaeology and Linguistics, Aarhus University (chair)

    Aarhus University Conference Centre, Byg. 1421, Mødelokale 2

    Aanjar 8 November 2008

    Posted by Troels in : Late Antiquity,Travel , add a comment

    Some snapshots from the spectacular Umayyad site of Aanjar in Lebanon. This fortified city was built in the early 8th century AD on the same principles as a Roman city, i.e. using a square grid plan and with colonnaded streets. Its builders also made extensive use of spolia. Aanjar had several bathhouses, heated by hypocaust systems and decorated with mosaic floors. By all means, a fascinating site!

    Aanjar, Lebanon: View towards the Anti-Lebanon mountains. Photo: TMK, October 2008.

    Anjar Tetrapylon
    Tetrapylon in the centre of Aanjar, Lebanon. Photo: TMK, October 2008.

    Aanjar, Lebanon: Site overview taken from city walls. Photo: TMK, October 2008.

    A Late Antique Mosaic in Ismailiya 16 June 2008

    Posted by Troels in : Late Antiquity , 1 comment so far

    Sheikh Zouéde mosaic

    I’ve just uploaded no less than 48 of my photos of a late antique mosaic in the Ismailiya Museum (Egypt) to the public part of my Flickr site. It was found in Northern Sinai at a locality known as Sheikh Zouéde in the early 20th century. The excavators argued at the time that the mosaic came from a fortress, but it seems likely that the mosaic in fact comes from a villa. There’s also a couple of shots below the fold.

    Sheikh Zouéde mosaic

    The Afterlife of Roman Sculpture 12 June 2008

    Posted by Troels in : Archaeology,Late Antiquity , add a comment

    Here’s news of a seminar that I’m organizing next semester:

    The Afterlife of Roman Sculpture:
    Late Antique Perceptions and Practices

    Friday 26 September 1-5 pm

    Silviu Anghel, Columbia University: “Burying Statues: Change or Continuity in Late Antiquity?”

    Ben Croxford, University of Cambridge: “The Destruction of Sculpture in Roman Britain: Re-evaluating the Action and its Significance.”

    Troels Myrup Kristensen, University of Aarhus: “The Afterlife of Roman Sculpture in Late Antique Alexandria.”

    Lea Stirling, University of Manitoba

    University of Aarhus, room TBA.
    Full programme here (subject to changes).

    Late Antique Archaeology 2008: A Recap 19 March 2008

    Posted by Troels in : Archaeology,Conferences,Late Antiquity , 1 comment so far

    I was in London on Saturday for the 2008 meeting of Late Antique Archaeology. The theme of this year’s conference was “Recent Fieldwork in Urban Archaeology” and papers were presented on Noviodunum (Romania), Boeotia, Aphrodisias, Ephesus, Sagalassos, Ostia, Delphi, Apamea (Syria), Canterbury and Istanbul.

    Apollontemplet i Delfi
    The Temple of Apollo, Delphi. The temple was repaired after a 3rd century fire and still stood in late antiquity at the top of the Sacred Way. As an empty ruin? Perhaps even as a monument to the Christian victory over pagan cult? Either way, it appears never to have been converted for Christian use. Photo: TMK, March 2007.

    The first speaker was Kris Lockyear of UCL who presented his team’s work at the fortified town of Noviodunum in Romania. The site is multi-period and characterized by extreme erosion, in large part due to over-farming during the Communist era. In its initial phase the Noviodunum project has focused on survey, both within the site itself and in its hinterland. It is now moving into an excavation phase and it’s hoped that this will provide a better understanding of the site’s chronology and development.

    Next, John Bintliff from Leiden discussed the late antique development of three towns (Tanagra, Thespiae and Koroneia) that have been explored through non-invasive field survey over some 30 years in the region of Boeotia in Greece. The ‘geophys’ (to use the jargon of survey archaeologists) for Tanagra, explored by Bintliff and colleagues since 2000, is absolutely amazing and one of those text-book cases of the viability of the method in field archaeology. It clearly shows a Hippodamian city grid plan that was still largely intact in the 4th century AD. However, sometime in late antiquity, a large basilica church was constructed in the agora. The accompanying ‘pick up’ survey at Tanagra has almost entirely produced late antique ‘transport amphorae’, suggesting that the site had a rather one-sided nature at the time. Alternatively, it may say something important about the interpretative shortcomings of archaeological taxonomies….

    Charlotte Roueché of KCL, host of this year’s conference, presented an introduction to her epigraphic survey at Aphrodisias and Ephesus. Her extremely important work is aimed at putting epigraphy, often published without any topographic information in the past, into its archaeological context. This approach was also the background to the 2007 online edition of Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity. She made a plea to study seriously (and publish!) the graffiti and other markings found at so many archaeological sites and too frequently ignored by epigraphists. Finally, she reminded everyone of the difficulty of working with material from old excavations and the sometimes haphazard nature of the production of archaeological knowledge. The main reason to undertake excavations of streets in Ephesus such as the Embolos was thus to provide easier access for tourists between the site’s major attractions… (more…)

    Religious Identity in the Roman Near East 6 February 2008

    Posted by Troels in : Archaeology,Late Antiquity,Quick Notes , add a comment

    Rubina Raja has recently begun a research project here in Aarhus on “Religious identity, ritual practice and sacred architecture in the late Hellenistic and Roman Near East, 100 BC – AD 400: Sanctuaries between culture, religion and society”, generously funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The project has recently launched its website. Future events include an international workshop on “Religious Identities in the Hellenistic and Roman Near East: Local, Regional, Imperial?” (Aarhus, 18-21 September 2008) and a series of guest lectures. It’s an interesting project investigating the intersections between archaeology and religious studies.

    Constructions of Memory 25 January 2008

    Posted by Troels in : Conferences,Late Antiquity,Quick Notes , add a comment

    Here’s the programme for a really cool seminar in March that I’ll take part in: “Erindringskonstruktioner – Erindring og glemsel i overgangsperioder” (“Constructions of Memory – Memory and Forgetting in Periods of Transformation”), hosted by the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for the Study of the Cultural Heritage of Medieval Rituals at the University of Copenhagen: (more…)