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Sanctuaries in the Danubian provinces: about an important conference

October 17, 2021

After two years of hard and almost impossible circumstances and organisation we finally had our international conference on Sanctuaries in the Danubian provinces organised. Due to the ongoing and apparently, neverending Covid-phenomena, we organised our conference in the online space. The conference united succesfully researchers representing 7 provinces of the Roman Empire (Noricum, Dalmatia, Pannonia Superior, Pannonia Inferior, Moesia Superior, Moesia Inferior, Dacia) from seven different countries. The case studies were focusing on several new, often unpublished sacralised spaces and new discoveries, but also on the systematic reinterpretation of the old material. The idea of the conference was born in autumn 2018 in Belgrade, during the Limeskongress, where I have initiated my postdoctoral project. We organised there an ad hoc think-tank and it was a pleasure to see most of the participants from that meeting at our conference. The idea get a strong support in 2019 after Christian Gugl and the Austrian Archaeological Institute expressed their participation as co-organisers with the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Szeged. The conference received also a grant from the Thyssen Stiftung just before the pandemic, which unfortunately represented a terrible obstacle for us. After 3 unsuccesful dates proposed for the conference, the event finally took place at 15-16th October 2021 in an online space. The conference had also the keynote lecture of prof. dr. Michael Blömer on the cult of Jupiter Dolichenus and the impact of the central sanctuary from Doliche on the Danubian provinces and beyond.

The conference was an important one also in a historiographic perspective: there were few similar initiatives in the last few decades, focusing on sanctuaries and archaeology of religion in the Danubian area. There were conferences or exhibitions focusing on the cult and archaeology of Mithras (one organised in the late 1990’s in Ptuj and another in Alba Iulia in 2017 – Mccarty-Egri 2020), sanctuaries and religion in Pannonia (Fitz 1998, Humer-Kremer 2011), sanctuaries in Noricum (Leitner 2007) new perspectives in Roman Dacia (Szabó et al. 2016) and general issues of Roman religion in the Danubian provinces (Zerbini 2015). This conference is the first one focusing especially on archaeology of religion going beyond a single divinity or province.

The proceedings will be published in 2023 or 2024.

Keynote lecture of prof. Michael Blömer

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