Economic and religious activity in the ancient world

Sacred Ways

This project has been established by a group of scholars in the School of Classics and the School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David who work on a variety of areas including Greek religion, Hellenistic culture, Roman economy, and Bronze Age Cyprus.

Dr Kyle Erickson   Dr Ralph Haussler.

The purpose of the project is to study the interactions between economic exchange, geography and religion exemplified by the relationships between sacred places, trade and routes. We hope that the research of this interaction will enable us to better understand traces of cross-culturalism. Key factors of this project will be the scrutiny of cult places as sites of religious and economic activity: we will be looking at these sites especially as economic stations that facilitate dynamic inter-regional exchange through the movement of goods, people and ideas – religious, political and social.

The primary focus of the project will be the study of the ancient Mediterranean context and connected regions, with special attention to the Aegean and continental Greece, as well as ancient Italy, North Africa and ancient Near East. However, our aim is also to explore the intercommunion between trade, markets and religion both as a trans-regional and cross-temporal phenomenon. We are thus interested in looking at sea, fluvial and land routes, and also at multi-geographical phenomena, such as transhumant tracks, as well as spatially fixed official and non-official markets, such as human trafficking.

The topic will be further scrutinised from the point of view of commodities and goods and their links with specific cults and religious patronage, from material and human goods, such as food supply and the slave trade, to the transport and commercialization of, for example, metal resources, luxury items and even pilgrims.

The next meeting of the network is being organised for 2014 and will concentrate on sacred landscapes in the western Roman provinces, while another meeting on trade and healing materials in the eastern Mediterranean and India is also being planned.

Through the work in this research area the School has active research links and collaborations with researchers and practitioners in:

Dr Emma Aston (Reading)
Dr Irene Berti (Heidelberg)
Dr Jesús Carruesco (ICAC, Tarragona)
Dr Anna Collar (Liverpool)
Dr David N. Edwards (Leicester)