Universiteit Leiden

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Before Temples

  • R. de Leeuwe
woensdag 31 mei 2023
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof.dr. D.R. Fontijn
  • Prof.dr. H. Fokkens


Before the introduction of Roman temples in the Low Countries, there used to be ‘open air cult places’ in the Iron Age⁠⁠. That is at least the assumption based on descriptions given by classical writers and several archetypical sanctuaries that were excavated in France⁠⁠. However, the rectangular structures regularly encountered in Belgium and the Netherlands that are so often interpreted by archaeologists as cult places are not comparable to the French examples⁠⁠. The evidence these structures deliver does not testify to long usage, modifications, disarticulated human remains, animal bones or Iron Age weaponry that is to be expected of such a place⁠⁠. Rather, short term utilisation, pottery depositions and a vaguely defined relation to cremation graves typify the rectangular structures⁠⁠. These finds and features could fit in the ancestral worship belief system, although what does that actually entail? How did Iron Age people actually conceptualise or practice interaction with ancestral spirits? In this thesis the use of rectangular structures during the Iron Age is explored and the meaning of related depositions interpreted⁠⁠. The structures fulfilled a special sociocultural position in Iron Age society, emphasised by the deliberately chosen liminal location in an increasingly structured landscape⁠⁠.


Ongeveer een week na de promotie zijn proefschriften van Leidse promovendi digitaal beschikbaar via het Leids Repositorium. De proefschriften op deze site zijn vrij toegankelijk. Alleen in sommige gevallen rust er een tijdelijk embargo op een proefschrift en wordt het proefschrift pas later volledig beschikbaar gesteld.

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