Sensing Rome: Sensory Approaches to Movement and Space – RAC 2016, University of Rome, 16-19 March 2016

RAC 2016 La Sapienza, University of Rome, 16-19 March 2016

Sensing Rome: Sensory Approaches to Movement and Space

I’m pleased to announce that this panel has been accepted for RAC 2016!

Roman archaeology is currently experiencing both a spatial and a sensory turn. Taking as its theme the multiple perspectives of sensory space, this session explores the role played by the senses in recognising, understanding and using Roman urban space, with a specific focus on movement within the cities of Rome, Ostia and Pompeii.

The multisensory body is the locus of human identity, experience and memory, and the body in motion gives meaning to space and place. Bringing these perspectives together, this session explores the value of applying a sensory approach to the archaeology of Roman urbanism. It will examine the extent to which the senses played a central role within distinctive cultural, social, political and economic activities, with the aim of increasing our understanding of how people identified and interacted with the city as they moved within it.

In particular, the speakers will ask how we might develop and apply methodologies for recreating experiences of Roman urban landscapes, as well as the activities, behaviours and meanings associated with them, with attention given to how empirical sensory data may combine or conflict with that of ancient sources. Consideration will be given to the impact sensory stimuli had on the perceptions and experiences of those who lived in Rome, Ostia and Pompeii, and the extent to which an attempt to recapture sensory data and reconstruct sensory experiences alters our perceptions of these cities. Were sensory stimuli instrumental to navigating urban space and characterising particular locales or activities, or did they cut across them?

A further aim of the session is to develop methodologies for reconstructing sensory experiences of space, with a particular focus on movement through urban landscapes, as well as to consider the issues of approaching movement from a multisensory perspective, some methodological problems and their solutions.


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