Beyond the temple
: establishing a context for Gallo-Roman sanctuaries

  • Eleanor Ghey

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The thesis focuses on Gallo-Roman temple sites in the Burgundy region, based on published and archive sources. It uses these sites to illustrate an exploration of interconnected themes relating to the study of temple sites, with a view to developing an integrated approach to site and surroundings. A gazetteer of sites is appended to the text.

    Discussion of these themes applies recent theoretical approaches to archaeology and draws on interdisciplinary work. Using a broad-based approach to the study of these sites, it considers the wider defining context of temple complexes as places for ritualised action and attempts to move away from categorisation of sites based on architectural form (for example 'temple' or 'spring' sites).

    Alternative approaches to the architecture of temple sites are suggested, ntegrating detailed discussion of bath buildings and theatres into analysis of the sites and considering their implications for multiple perspectives. Consideration is also given to the symbolic associations of water and the way in which bodily experience is used to effect transformation and structure interaction with the sacred.

    The work attempts to break down a perceived separation of site and structure through consideration of landscape context, the medium of water and processes such as pilgrimage. The use of the pilgrimage analogy for temple sites is examined; it is argued that the act of pilgrimage through the landscape would have created physical and conceptual links between temple sites and their surroundings.

    The study takes a long-term perspective and considers the evidence for the use of temple sites in the Iron Age and post-Roman periods and associated problems of interpretation. This long-term perspective reveals frequentation of these sites before and after the Roman period, stressing the importance of place and its associated memories.
    Date of Award2003
    Original languageEnglish


    • Temples
    • Gallo-Roman

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