Performing the Sacra: Priestly roles and their organisation in Roman Britain

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Performing the Sacra: Priestly roles and their organisation in Roman Britain addresses the range of cultural responses to the Roman conquest of Britain with regards to priestly roles. The approach adopted is based on current theoretical trends focussing on dynamics of adaptation, multiculturalism, and appropriation characterising the continuity and emergence of these roles in the province. The book investigates three main themes: a model of priesthoods organisation in Britain, the embodiment of priestly authorities in a provincial environment, and how the different depositional contexts of priestly regalia contribute to our understanding of these roles. The methodical investigation of published and unpublished objects identifiable as priestly regalia is integrated into an assessment of historical, epigraphic, and iconographic sources mapped via the creation of a Geographic Information System. Highlighting the continuity of use of British priestly regalia between the Iron Age and the Roman period and contextualising this phenomenon in a wider provincial panorama from Spain to Syria, the regalia become crucial to mark the presence of priestly roles and their evolution. The biographical analysis of the regalia, especially when found in structured deposit, allows consideration on the organisation of cults, while their geographical distribution suggests different patterns of priestly organisation across different regions. After crossing this information with the epigraphic evidence for priestly titles, the result is a mosaic of engagements with priestly authority, particularly by elite or near-elite individuals, ultimately illustrating a fluid provincial culture behind the religious organisation of the ritual landscape of Britain.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherArchaeopress BAR
Number of pages187
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78969-098-9 (e-Pdf)
ISBN (Print)978-1-78969-097-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameArchaeopress Roman Archaeology


  • Roman Britain
  • Priestly regalia
  • Archaeology of religion
  • Roman Priesthood
  • Structured deposit
  • Small finds
  • Roman Archaeology
  • Roman religion


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