Sanja Vucetic

Sexualities in Roman provinces: creating identities through sexual representations in colonial settings

My project investigates the ways people negotiated their sexualities in the Roman provinces. It examines pictorial representations of sexual acts and pursuits on mass-manufactured moulded lamps and fine tableware from the eastern and western imperial regions and studies patterns of consumption and deposition of the objects upon which such imagery occurs.

The study explores the ways sexuality and hierarchy were produced and transformed through bodily representations and practices associated with gender and sexuality and compares how people’s embodied sexuality varied across gender and different provincial cultures over time. Likewise, in taking into account broader Roman Imperial socio-economic processes that framed the provincial production and consumption of lamps and fine tableware, the project explores the role of the cultural objects and their sexual decorations in articulation of provincial social life.

Through the application of quantitative and qualitative analytical techniques to the study of imagery and material culture, the project will produce a comprehensive, contextual and comparative archaeological study of sexual practices and identities across different Roman provinces and contribute greatly to the unexplored archaeological field of sexual practices and identities in the imperial periphery.

Funding organisation

  • Fieldwork: UCL Institute of Archaeology, UCL Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences, British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, The Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI)


 Educational background

  • Postgraduate Course in Prehistoric, Greek and Roman Pottery, British School at Athens, Knossos, Crete 2015
  • MA, Research Methods for Archaeology, UCL, UK 2012
  • MA, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, Deakin University, Australia 2008
  • BA, Classical Archaeology, University of Sydney, Australia 2006

Armstrong, F. and Vucetic, Sanja. In press. Conference Review: Sharing the field — Art in the Landscape and Landscape Archaeology. Papers of the Institute of Archaeology (PIA), UCL.

Vucetic, Sanja. 2014. Roman Sexuality or Roman Sexualities? Looking at Sexual Imagery on Roman Terracotta Mould-made Lamps. In TRAC 2013: Proceedings of the Twenty-Second Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, London 2013, eds. H. Platts, C. Barron, J. Lundock, J. Pearce, J. Yoo. Oxford: Oxbow. 140-158.

Conference presentation:

2014 Overcoming the Enlightenment Heritage. Cartesian Representationalism in the Archaeology of Gender and Sexuality. Philosophy, Archaeology, and the Enlightenment Heritage Conference, University of Kiel, Germany, October 8-9.

2013 ‘Sexual identity(ies) and Roman lamps: Exploring iconography of human sexual activity and mythological erotic pursuits on terracotta mould-made lamps’. Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, King’s College, London, UK, April 5-6.

  • Roman lamp with sexual representation of ordinary size human figures’ (courtesy of Carole Raddato, 2014)
  • ‘Roman lamp with sexual representation of ordinary size human figures’ (courtesy of Carole Raddato, 2014)
  • ‘Roman lamp with sexual representation of dwarfs’ (courtesy of Carole Raddato, 2014)

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