01 Feb 2018 - 04 Feb 2018
08:00 - 16:00

Integrative Prehistory and Archaeological Science (IPAS) & Vindonissa chair, University of Basel
"Alte Universität", Rheinsprung 9

Kongress / Tagung / Symposium / Ruth Sahli

ICAZ – International Council for Archaeozoology

2nd Roman Period Working Group Meeting

Animals in ritual and funeral context

Religion was of great importance in the ancient world, playing a vital role in public and political life as well as in the life and death of each individual. The Roman Empire was also characterised by great religious diversity as it absorbed new cult practices and strains of belief over time. A common thread among most polytheistic ancient religions was the major role of animals in ritual sacrifice and the funerary cult. The significance of animals in ancient religious contexts will be investigated in light of various sources (archaeozoological, archaeological, iconographic, historical) in the course of the conference. The following points are a priority for discussion, taking into account current research findings from different regions of the Roman Empire:

  • methodological issues (e.g. recognition of ritual remains, the depositional context of different types of landfills, written vs. archaeozoological sources)
  • distinctions between public, private, and funerary cult
  • animal sacrifices in the various religions (e.g. Gallo-Roman, Mithras, Isis cults)
  • regional vs. global forms of animal sacrifice
  • chronological development
  • economic implications of the animal cult

A large part of the meeting will be devoted to the invited and free reported presentations, with subsequent discussions. The posters, another important component, will be presented in short speeches during the poster session. The presentations and discussion results will be published as proceedings as soon as possible after the meeting. In light of the important contributions yielded by Swiss archaeology to the study of Roman religion and funerary culture in recent years, the conference is further intended to provide an opportunity to present local archaeological research to an international audience, as a complement to its aforementioned scientific objectives. A visit to the IPNA and two excursions to Roman period sites (Augusta Raurica and Vindonissa) in the region will serve that end.