Showing posts from August, 2009

The Shades and the sun

Sun, fields and a pig on a funeral pyre. What fun: mobile phone photos The last day of the British Festival of Archaeology was marked in grand fashion at St Fagan's yesterday. With the sun, a welcome visitor after its absence the past fortnight, beaming, my morning was occupied up at Llandeilo constructing a funeral pyre. We'd put together the base the night before, but had to layer it up to about four foot, while members of staff went about faggoting in the nearby woods. And all in all I think a good job was made of it, considering that it both caught and didn't immediately burn itself out. The manner in which the flesh and fat liquefied and burnt off to expose the specimen's skull, teeth and other bones, as well as the resilience of the pottery to the intensity to the flames.

The Vicus did an excellent job of making a piece of experimental archaeology into a crowd drawing event. And talking to intrigued members of the public who stopped by later in the day, there was …

Presentation on 'Nudity and Roman public bathing'

This is an embed of a presentation I gave a couple of months ago outlining some issues to do with nudity at the thermae and balnea of Roman society. A bit of the formatting / timings have been lost in the conversion to the Google Docs version unfortunately.

With bathing a key feature of Roman social life and a trip to the baths a normal daily event, the issue of whether or not and where the Romans went nude takes on a clear significance. On the one hand it is important for a greater understanding of the social and symbolic expression of Romanitas, and on the other it enables us to repopulate the extinct ruins of Roman bathhouses, thereby developing our comprehension of ancient social realities and improving our (re)presentions of them. In a social context that equated public nudity with shame and depravity, and in which the term nudus had an ambiguous meaning, it is remarkable that nakedness and, moreover, mixed-sex bathing at the baths were both tolerated and expected. Special…