session 27

RETHINKING THE CONCEPT OF “HEALING SETTLEMENTS”: CULTS, CONSTRUCTIONS AND CONTEXTS IN THE WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE

Organised by: Maddalena Bassani, Marion Bolder-Boos, Annalisa Calapà, Ugo Fusco e Jens Koehler

The ancient settlements on thermo-mineral sites with emerging curative centers became a subject of professional in-depth research during the last few years. Various national and international conferences demonstrate this interest, to mention only those organized by the Università di Padova (Padua, Italy 2010 and 2012) and by the city council of Chaves (Chaves, Portugal 2014). At these meetings the results of excavations and other research projects centered on areas affected by geothermal phenomena have been presented. This helped to open the way for a growing scholarly attention to numerous problematics concerning the exploitation of curative springs and the settlement patterns at spa sites (e.g. aspects of topography, infrastructure, architecture, cult, society, economy etc.). Furthermore, such initiatives allowed to emphasize the particularities accompanying the use of beneficial sources, compared to that of common sweet waters. Other studies are more focused on religious aspects concerning health and healing including (in)fertility. Votive offerings and particularly inscriptions attesting to dedications as thanksgiving or prayer forcure or conception offer a variety of research questions, including whether specific healing or fertility cults existed at particular sites.
In the proposed session we therefore bring together papers dealing with therapeutic aspects connected to thermo-mineral sites as well as cultic aspects surrounding health and healing.

Luoghi di culto alle aquae salutifere: osservazioni da alcuni casi in Italia, Germania e Gallia, Maddalena Bassani, Matteo Marcato and Cecilia Zanetti

Healing by water: Therapy and Religion in the Roman Spas of the Iberian Peninsula, Silvia González Soutelo and Sergio Carneiro

Before the Hammam: The Ancient Spas of Roman North Africa, Jens Koehler

The Concept of so-called ‘Healing Sanctuaries’ Revisited, Velia Boecker

Sacred Caves and 'Fertility Cults'. Some Considerations about Cave Sanctuaries in

Etruria, Annalisa Calapà

New Data and Interpretations: the Case of Veii-Campetti and Ostia, Ugo Fusco and Marion Bolder-Boos