Your browser has javascript turned off or blocked. This will lead to some parts of our website to not work properly or at all. Turn on javascript for best performance.

The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/windows/end-of-ie-support).

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Ritualization - Hybridization - Fragmentation : The Mutability of Roman Vessels in Germania Magna AD 1–400

Author

Summary, in English

This PhD thesis deals with the transformation of imported vessels of Roman origin in Germania Magna during the Roman Iron Age, 1-400 AD. The concept of transformation in this context refers to the various ways these objects were interpreted, physically altered and consequently changed with regard to their function and meaning. Roman vessels in Germanic contexts are often regarded as evidence for Rome’s economic and socio-political influence on the tribes beyond the imperial boarders. Some scholars interpret them as an imitatio imperii, that is, as expressions of a Romanized lifestyle among the local elites. In this thesis, however, it is argued that these objects must be studied using perspectives that acknowledge interpretation and transformation as important elements in cultural interaction. Influenced by theoretical studies within anthropology and other social sciences, particularly the theories of practice and structuration, this thesis explores what happens when a category of foreign objects is appropriated by a society, what happens in the encounter between local traditions and new social situations and new material culture, and what those encounters result in.



The thesis revolves around three case studies. The first one, on ritualization, investigates how vessels of Roman origin were utilized in Germanic funerary rituals. It analyses the funerary context as a field of social practice through which significance is generated and transformed, thus illuminating the structuring influences this context had on the rituals and the vessels themselves. The second case study on hybridization focusses on the combination of actual Roman vessels or vessel forms with local stylistic features, resulting in new expressions in the material culture. The objects studied are a small number of silver vessels that were produced locally and thus traditionally interpreted as imitations or forgeries of Roman vessels. Using this as a point of departure, the study deals with the question of authenticity in material culture and how external impulses are refracted and rearranged through the encounter with local structures, and then fused together with these to create new forms. The third study deals with the fragmentation of glass, more exactly, the intentional deposition of glass fragments in graves, either on the dead person (e.g., in the mouth or in the clothes), together with the grave goods, or in the grave fill. Based on this physical transformation the study explores the biography of the glass vessels, the encounter between Mediterranean rituals and indigenous traditions of ritual destruction, and the convergence of different regimens of value.

Publishing year

2009

Language

English

Publication/Series

Acta Archaeologica Lundensia. Series in 4°

Volume

28

Document type

Dissertation

Publisher

Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Lund University

Topic

  • History and Archaeology

Keywords

  • ritual destruction
  • obolus
  • imports
  • Roman Iron Age
  • Roman vessels
  • Germania Magna
  • transformation
  • appropriation
  • practice theory
  • ritual practice
  • princely graves
  • fürstengräber
  • identity construction
  • silver vessels
  • Germanic pottery
  • hybridity
  • Roman glass
  • Charon's coin
  • fragmentation
  • enchainment

Status

Published

Supervisor

ISBN/ISSN/Other

  • ISSN: 0065-1001
  • ISBN: 978-91-89578-27-2

Defence date

15 May 2009

Defence time

10:15

Defence place

Room 104, Kungshuset, Lundagård, Lund

Opponent

  • Kerstin Cassel (fil dr)