Italia sacra. Eine Anatomie der heiligen Orte in Italien von der späten Eisenzeit bis zur archaischen Zeit (8. – 6. Jahrhundert v.Chr.)
Sanctuaries constitute one of the main elements of cultures that inhabited the ancient Mediterranean World. Societies in this geographical area organised their cities and their socio-political structure according to a principle of economic and functional consideration, as well as by taking into account religious prescriptions of considerable value. In the early stages of their urbanisation, ancient cities paid great attention to the establishment of a sacred urban landscape, i.e. a sacred cityscape, a fil-rouge articulated in processions and other forms of interaction. Therefore, sacred places constitute an essential lens through which to study the inner structure of a society and/or of a city. With a specific regard to ancient Italy, the main goal of the project is to reflect on the definition and role of sanctuaries from the late Iron Age to the Archaic period (8th-6th century BCE), a long-lasting period of intense and vibrant contacts between locals and people from the East. As a result of this cultural phenomenon, usually referred to by scholars as “Orientalising period”, the Italian peninsula experienced a turning point in its development with many small villages that became major cities of a Mediterranean character.
The project focuses on case studies in central-thyrrenian and southern Italy by analysing three interrelated aspects (Topography, Architecture, Material culture) and two connecting elements (Ritual practices, Urbanisation). While the first three shed light on the characteristics of sanctuaries, the last two will help to better understand the fil rouge created by and connected to the establishment of a sanctuary in a specific cultural context. Such an interdisciplinary approach will lead to the analysis of sanctuaries from an archaeological perspective as well as by taking into account the most recent achievements in the field of ancient religion and architecture, as well as philology and anthropology.
Students will work in small groups, each considering an exemplary sanctuary. The interdisciplinarity of the project will allow them to develop their independent research skills and, at the same time, to cooperate with each other, in a fruitful exchange aimed at fulfilling a joint-goal oriented research. In this way, in addition to the relevant scientific contents, students will learn the methodology to adopt in studying an archaeological context related to the sacred dimension.
Studies on the religion of ancient Italy together with scientific publications of the excavations as well as studies on specific topics, such as the architecture and material culture of sanctuaries, constitute the sources on which the research project will be based. The outcomes of the research project will be presented in several reports which could lead, eventually, to an online publication.
A selected bibliography will be provided during the first introductory meetings.
HU course catalogue 21811712