Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 01
Fachbereich Alte Geschichte, Sabine Huebner
Urban Biographies: Antinoopolis and Heracleopolis in Roman and Late Antique Egypt. Archaeological Recontextualization
The contextualization of objects, texts, structures and stratigraphy is certainly one of the main goals of modern archaeology. Especially, for the numerous Egyptian sites, excavated at the turn of the 19th and 20th century, it is very helpful to reconstruct the dynamics and long-term development of the settlements between Roman and the Late Antique periods. From a methodological point of view, this approach shows some critical limits that would affect the reliability of the results, like the lack of punctual stratigraphic documentation and even more often, the absence of a holistic interpretation of the data. In other words, this results in the non-identification of the nature and process formation of the deposits where the objects were found (i.e., accumulation of waste, post abandonment accretion, occupation or destruction phases), as well as in the dissimilarity of archaeological datasets. In the last twenty years, the issue of recontextualizing written materials increased among papyrologists, Egyptologists and archaeologists, pointing out what Roger S. Bagnall called “Archaeology of Papyrology”. Indeed, putting in relation texts and other artifacts coming from the same stratigraphy would allow for better understanding and interpretation of the nature of the context in which they were created and used, and the purpose. This speech presents the review of the archaeological excavations carried out at Antinoopolis and Heracleopolis in the past centuries and the preliminary reconstruction of their occupation phases. The analysis of the archaeological remains and material culture from these sites is part of the project Urban Biographies of the Roman and Late Antique Worlds: Antinoopolis and Heracleopolis in Egypt, c. 100 – c. 650 CE, funded by SNSF. It aims to relate textual and material data, through digital tools, in order to rebuild the urban landscape, social life, networks and relationship with surrounding environment in these two cities of Middle Egypt.
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