Rosshofgasse (Schnitz), Seminarraum S 01
Fachbereich Alte Geschichte, Sabine Huebner
Digging sand, writing history: the importance of the archaeological contexts in the interpretation of texts and artifacts
The archaeological excavations of the University of Salento at Dime es-Seba, ancient Soknopaiou Nesos, have brought to light new and unexpected buildings, contexts, and objects within the temenos of the temple dedicated to the god Soknopaios. Evidence of the presence of Alexandrian-style religious buildings and decorations, and the wide diffusion within the temple of painted panels gods represented in Graeco-Roman iconographical language, are changing the traditional view of Soknopaiou Nesos, based largely on textual evidence, as a steadfast Egyptian cultural redoubt impervious to both Hellenization and Roman occupation. The archaeology of Soknoupaiou Nesos has matured to the point that it is time for us to contextualize and reinterpret the Greek and Demotic texts in their material context, in order to reach a more accurate picture of the local society and culture. More broadly, the modern excavation of Dime may stand as a significant example of how much contextual archaeology can contribute to the historical reconstruction of ancient societies.
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