York YO51 9EP
After a first degree in Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge University and MA in Roman archaeology at Durham, John’s doctoral thesis examined provincial Roman burial practice. John worked at Oxford as a research assistant on the Vindolanda writing tablets project and online editions of ancient documents before moving to King’s College in 2003. “I am especially interested in funerary evidence as a source for understanding Roman society, including commemorative memorials, burial rituals and the remains of the dead themselves.”
In the Roman world it was common for the approaches to major towns to be lined with funerary monuments and cemeteries, providing a display of a community’s ancestors to those arriving and leaving the town. Several cemeteries are known on the edges of Aldborough, mostly discovered in the 19thcentury. These include cremation burials accompanied by offerings to the dead. Survey work outside the east gate has revealed traces of more substantial graves, including possible family mausolea. Remains of such a monument, with the deceased burial in a lead coffin, were excavated in 2007 a short distance out of the Roman town.
John’s talk will help us to see how these monuments and the rituals associated with them fit in with others found in Britannia and will demonstrate why the study of funerary practice has become one of the most exciting and rapidly developing areas of Roman archaeology in recent decades.