Institute of Archaeology


Accordia Early Career Talks 2023-24: Session 1

31 October 2023, 5:30 pm–6:30 pm

Poster for Accordia Early Career Talks 2023-24 (black background, white text and red borders)

A new series of Accordia Early Career Talks, organised jointly with Nottingham University, will be held online during 2023-24. The first in the series takes place on 31 October.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Prof Ruth Whitehouse

Talk 1: Dress of the Living/Dead: understanding Iron Age Italic communities through how they dressed their corpses - George Prew, National Museums Scotland

In this paper, based on my PhD research, I present a new approach to analysing funerary material, and particularly funerary dress. Through this approach, new understandings emerge of central Italic communities, specifically those served by the cemeteries of Osteria dell’Osa in Latium and Fossa and Bazzano in the Abruzzo, during the transformational period of the Early Iron Age (c.900-500 BCE), in which settlements coalesced and grew, and new, more urban, forms of living started to take hold. Communities of Iron Age Italy left no, or almost no, written record. They are therefore known through the archaeological record, and especially by finds from funerary contexts. Graves and funerals, however, are not made to present an accurate picture of life in a community, and our understandings of these communities are therefore invariably coloured by their own constructions of themselves in the cemetery: we see much less of the living community than we do the community they created for their dead. By analysing and reanalysing funerary dress along multiple interpretive lines, a kaleidoscope of new views into these communities appear, and by taking these views together, new narratives start to emerge for the three sites.

Talk 2: 40 years later: a reassessment of Carandini’s Archaic ‘Atrium Houses’ on the North Slope of the Palatine - Amelia W. Eichengreen, University of Michigan

In the 1980s, Andrea Carandini excavated a large city block at the north slope of the Palatine and discovered some of the most complete domestic remains of archaic Rome. Carandini’s reconstruction of these homes, however, leans heavily on literary sources and extrapolates too much from the actual archaeological evidence in place, utilizing only 5% of the evidence. As a result, the academic community has largely dismissed these results. Still, since it remains to this day the only semi-complete archaic domestic site in Rome, it accordngly has been noted as such by Bradley, Fulminante, and Hopkins, who consider the archaic period but has impact as far afield as Ellis’ discussion on the Roman imperial economy. Since Carandini’s excavation in the 1980s, the excavation of several new sites, including San Giovenale and the Auditorium Site, now allow for a reassessment. My talk draws from my dissertation, where I use only archaeological evidence to provide a new reconstruction for this housing block in Rome. In contrast to Carandini, who suggests four houses, I reconstruct this area as one palatial archaic complex. This reconstruction illuminates new details concerning the urbanization process of early Rome. For example, the first staircase in Italy demonstrates that homes had moved from one to two stories. This progression from a hut in the previous phase to a monumental two-story elite complex reveals a staggering rate of urban transformation. Additionally, while contemporary peers lived in huts of wattle and daub, the residents at this complex lived in stone homes with terracotta roofs and multiple wells to provide easy access to water. Ultimately, I argue for a more rapid urbanization picture than previously believed and an increasingly marked social inequality.

All talks will commence at 5.30pm. Abstracts and Zoom links will be circulated nearer the time. If you would like to receive these (and are not on the Institute's events list), please contact Ruth Whitehouse (accresearch20@gmail.com). 

Programme | Accordia Early Career Lectures 2023-24