Objects in Context, Objects in Use

Material Spatiality in Late Antiquity


This book promotes the study of material spatiality in late antiquity: not just the study of buildings, but of the people, dress and objects used within them, drawing on all available source material. It seeks to explore the material world as it was lived in late antiquity, in an interpretative inquiry, rather than simply describing the evidence that has survived until today. The volume presents a series of comprehensive bibliographic essays which provide an overview of relevant literature, along with discussions of the nature of the sources, of relevant approaches and field methods. The main section of the book explores domestic space, vessels in context, dress, shops and workshops, religious space, and military space. Synthetic papers drawing on a wide range of archaeological, art-historical and textual sources are complemented by case-studies of context-rich late antique sites in the East Mediterranean and elsewhere, including Pella, Dura-Europos, Scythopolis, and Sagalassos.

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Biographical Note

Luke Lavan is Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Kent, Canterbury. His doctorate (2001) considered Provincial Capitals in Late Antiquity. He has edited conference volumes on late antique urbanism, the countryside and historical methodology, and is series editor of Late Antique Archaeology.

Ellen Swift is Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Kent, Canterbury. She has particular interests in artefact studies, late Roman dress, and Roman art. Her forthcoming book on Roman decoration is to be published by Ashgate.

Toon Putzeys works for the Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project of the Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven. His doctorate (2006) considered Contextual Analysis at Sagalassos, a classical city with important late antique levels in the mountains of South-West Turkey.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements .. ix

Material Spatiality in Late Antiquity: Sources, Approaches, and Field Methods .. 1
Luke Lavan, Ellen Swift and Toon Putzeys

Bibliographic Essays
Material Spatiality in Late Antiquity: An Introduction to the Bibliography .. 45
Luke Lavan and Toon Putzeys
Domestic Space in Late Antiquity .. 49
Toon Putzeys
Productive Space in Late Antiquity .. 63
Toon Putzeys
Commercial Space in Late Antiquity .. 81
Toon Putzeys and Luke Lavan
Political Space in Late Antiquity .. 111
Luke Lavan
Social Space in Late Antiquity .. 129
Luke Lavan
Religious Space in Late Antiquity .. 159
Luke Lavan
Domestic Space
Contextual Analysis at Sagalassos .. 205
Toon Putzeys, Marc Waelkens, Jeroen Poblome, Wim van Neer, Bea de Cupere, Thijs van Thuyne and Nathalie Kellens
Households at Pella, Jordan: Domestic Destruction Deposits of the Mid-8th c. .. 239
Alan Walmsley
Keeping the Demons out of the House: the Archaeology of Apotropaic Strategy and Practice in Late Antique Butrint and Antigoneia .. 273
John Mitchell

Vessels in Context
The Archaeology of Late Antique Dining Habits in the Eastern Mediterranean: A Preliminary Study of the Evidence .. 313
Joanita Vroom
The Modena Well-hoards: Rural Domestic Artefact Assemblages in Late Antiquity .. 363
Sauro Gelichi
Decorated Vessels: The Function of Decoration in Late Antiquity .. 385
Ellen Swift

Shops and Workshops
Shopping, Eating and Drinking at Dura Europos: Reconstructing Contexts .. 413
Jennifer Baird
The Shops of Scythopolis in Context .. 439
Elias Khamis
An Unusual Structure on the Lycian Acropolis at Xanthos .. 473
Anne-Marie Manière Lévêque

Defining Personal Space: Dress and Accessories in Late Antiquity .. 497
Maria Parani
The Impossible Art of Dressing to Please: Jerome and the Rhetoric of Dress .. 531
Mary Harlow

Religious Space
Objects in Churches: The Testimony of Inventories .. 551
Béatrice Caseau
Furniture, Fixtures, and Fittings in Churches: Archaeological Evidence from Palestine (4th–8th c.) and the Role of the Diakonikon .. 581
Vincent Michel
Storing in the Church: Artefacts in Room I of the Petra Church .. 607
Zbigniew Fiema
Ordinary Objects in Christian Healing Sanctuaries .. 625
Béatrice Caseau

Military Space
Soldiers and Spaces: Daily Life in Late Roman Forts .. 657
Andrew Gardner
Interpreting Finds in Context: Nicopolis and Dichin Revisited .. 685
Andrew Poulter
Grappling with the Granary: Context issues at Dichin .. 707
Pam Grinter


All those interested in the archaeology and history of the Late Roman and Early Medieval periods in Europe and the Mediterranean, as well as architectural historians focusing on domesticity.

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