CFP: AIA/APA 2015 – Burial and Commemoration in the Roman Province — Deadline March 14, 2014

Burial and Commemoration in the Roman Province
A proposal for an AIA/APA Colloquium: New Orleans, January 8-11, 2015

Organizers: Tamara Dijkstra and Lidewijde de Jong (University of Groningen)

The last decades have witnessed a growing scholarly interest in the Roman provinces. Significant theoretical and methodological attention has been paid to the study of the expansion of the Roman Empire and the cultural integration of the provinces into the Empire. In these debates, provincial communities rise as active agents of change, and as highly diverse groups that seem to resist blanket models of culture change such as Romanization. The archaeological and epigraphic record illustrates different responses to Roman imperialism, varying from province to province as well as within local groups and sometimes between individuals. How, then, can one approach the cross-provincial/global nature of culture change, while appreciating local/non-global contexts?

We propose to address this debate by zooming in on perhaps the most local, personal, and contextually specific set of ritual practices: the care for the dead. How were mortuary customs in the provinces maintained, defined, and reinvented in the face of Roman expansion? The purpose of the colloquium is twofold. First, we intend to explore the changes that occurred in the mortuary practices of the Roman provinces resulting from the incorporation into or direct contact with the Roman Empire. Second, the colloquium aims to open the discussion about the challenges and significance of studying mortuary practices when addressing cultural negotiations. We invite papers using different theoretical and methodological perspectives, as well as topics emphasizing material and/or textual evidence. Bioarchaeological approaches are also very welcome.

Suggested topics:

-What happened to the mortuary customs of agents of the Roman state, such as soldiers and colonists, or those of other migrant communities?

-How were pre-Roman elements of funerary practices preserved, reinvented, or accentuated?

-Which distinctions were highlighted within the provincial communities, for instance based on sex, gender, age, kinship, or social status?

-How did people in the provinces use commemorative practices involving memory and the past to negotiate change?

-How was the cemetery used in processes of integration, resistance or adaptation to the Roman Empire?

-What was the role of inscriptions and monumentality in commemoration?

Please submit your abstract, including contact information, professional affiliation, title, and length of time requested (15 or 20 minutes) by MARCH 14 2014 to Tamara Dijkstra ( The abstract in English must not exceed 400 words and should conform to the AIA Style Guidelines (  More information on the Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America can be found here: