Museo delle Religioni “Raffaele Pettazzoni”

History of Religions and Archaeology II

Cult Places

2017, July 11-12-13-14-15

Call for Papers

In occasion of the recent restoration of the SS. Stimmate archeological area in Velletri, location of the so-called “Volscan temple”, the Museum of Religions promotes, for the month of July, an interdisciplinary debate focused on the theme of “cultic places” in both history of religions and archaeology. The initiative is a followup to the conference entitled “History of Religions and Archaeology. Compared Disciplines”, held in 2008 at Sapienza University of Rome. Moreover, it is intended to be a tribute in memory of the recently deceased archaeologist, Luciana Drago, who studied the territory of Velletri and was an esteemed collaborator and friend of the Museum of Religions for a long time.

Topics of the conference:

1. Adopting the perspective of the history of religions, what do we mean by “cult”? Which kinds of actions are conventionally denominated as “cultic actions”? Given a specific historical and cultural context, which is the emic terminology used in order to describe these actions? Adopting an archaeological perspective, which could be the indicators of a cultic activity?

2. Given a specific historical and cultural context, which are the extra-human beings object of a cultic action? Which are the main characteristics of these rites?

3. Given a specific historical and cultural context, which are the main characteristic of a cultic place? Which is the emic terminology used to refer to these places?

4. Which are the rituals performed in order to convert a place into a “cultic place”? Which are the main features in distinguishing a “cultic place”?

5. Which is the relationship between a specific extra-human being and its cultic place? Are the characteristics shown by the place directly linked to both the main traits and the sphere of action of this entity?

6. Which is the relationship between the ritual operators and the cultic place where they may or must work?

7. Given both the aims and the elements implied in a specific ritual, could them  affect the whole structure of a cultic place?

8. Could a cultic place show a reshaping of its functions through time? If yes, how?

Only the papers focused on the aforementioned topics will be accepted; proposals exclusively based on excavation reports, without a more general theoretical reflection on these topics will be refused.

Recommended bibliography:

C. Renfrew, The Archaeology of Cult: The Sanctuary at Phylakopi, London 1985; A.A. Demarest, Archaeology and Religion, in M. Eliade (ed.), Encyclopedia of Religion, vol. 1, New York 1987, pp. 372-379; R. Laffineur, Archéologie et religion: problèmes et méthodes, “Kernos” 1, 1988, pp. 129-140; Ch. Zivie-Coche — F. Dunand, Dieux et hommes en Égypte. 3000 av. J.-C.-395 apr. J.-C. Anthropologie religieuse, Paris 1991; J. Assmann (ed.), Das Fest und das Heilige: Religiöse Kontrapunkte zur Alltagswelt, Mohn 1991; C. Renfrew, The Archaeology of Religion, in C. Renfrew — E.B.W. Zubrow (eds.), The Ancient Mind. Elements of Cognitive Archaeology, Cambridge 1994, pp. 47-54; F. Bertemes — H. Meller — P.F. Biehl, The Archaeology of Cult and Religion, Budapest 2001; A. Cabrol, Les voies processionnelles de Thèbes, Leuven 2001; T. Insoll, Archaeology, ritual, religion, London-New York 2004; M. Rocchi — P. Xella (a cura di), Archeologia e religione, Verona 2006; B. Haring — A. Klug (eds.), Ägyptologische Tempeltagung: Funktion und Gebrauch altägyptischer Tempelräume, Wiesbaen 2007; P. Dorman et Alii (eds.), Sacred space and sacred function in ancient Thebes. Occasional proceedings of the Theban workshop, Chicago 2007; John Scheid (éd.), Pour une archéologie du rite : nouvelles erspectives de l’archéologie funéraire, Rome 2008; I. Baglioni (a cura di), Storia delle religioni e archeologia. Discipline a confronto, Roma 2010; V. Nizzo (a cura di), Dalla nascita alla morte: antropologia e archeologia a confronto, Roma 2011; E. Teeter, Religion and Ritual in Ancient Egypt, Cambridge 2011; V. Nizzo — A. La Rocca (a cura di), Antropologia e archeologia a confronto: rappresentazioni e pratiche del sacro, Roma 2012; J. Droogan, Religion, Material Culture and Archaeology, London 2012; F. Fontana (a cura di), Sacrum facere: atti del 1. Seminario di Archeologia del sacro, Trieste 2013; F. Fontana — E. Murgia (a cura di), Sacrum facere: atti del 2. Seminario di archeologia del sacro: contaminazioni: forme di contatto, traduzione e  mediazione nei sacra del mondo greco e romano, Trieste 2014; E. Swanson, The Archaeology of Ritual, “Annual Reviews of Anthropology” 44, 2015, pp. 329-345; C. Renfrew et al. (eds.), Kavos and the Special Deposits, Cambridge 2016; M. Torelli — N. Bonacasa — P. Matthiae (eds.), L’archeologia del sacro e l’archeologia del culto. Sabratha, Ebla, Ardea, Lanuvio, Roma 2016; F. Fontana — E. Murgia (a cura di), Sacrum facere: atti del 3. Seminario di archeologia del sacro: lo spazio del sacro: ambienti e gesti del rito, Trieste 2016.

The conference is structured in 6 research areas:

1. Ancient Egypt, from the Pharaonic Period to Late Antiquity


  • Paola Buzi (Sapienza Università di Roma)
  • Emanuele Ciampini (Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia)
2. Ancient Near East and Phoenician-Punic World


  •  Davide Nadali (Sapienza Università di Roma)
  • Simonetta Ponchia (Università degli Studi di Verona)
3. Greece, Magna Graecia, Hellenistic World


  •  Marcello Barbanera (Sapienza Università di Roma)
  • Sabina Crippa (Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia)
4. Etruscan-Italic World


  •  Massimiliano Di Fazio (Università degli Studi di Pavia)
  • Valentino Nizzo (Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo / Fondazione Dià Cultura)
5. Rome and the Empire


  •  Federica Fontana (Università degli Studi di Trieste)
  • Claudia Santi (SUN — Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli)
6. Christian Antiquity


  • Chiara Sanmorì (Pontifica Facoltà Teologica dell’Italia Meridionale — Napoli)
  • Giancarlo Rinaldi (Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”)

Secretariat and organisation: Igor Baglioni (Museo delle Religioni “Raffaele Pettazzoni”)

Please send a one-page abstract (max 2.000 characters) to Igor Baglioni, the director of the museum, ( by May 1st, 2017.

Abstract must include: the paper title; the chosen research area; a brief biographical note about the author; a brief resume of the paper; e-mail address and telephone number.

Papers could be presented in the following languages: French, English, Italian, Spanish.

The acceptance of papers will be communicated only to the selected contributors by May 10, 2017.

Please sent the complete paper by 26/June/2017, including notes and bibliography.

The delivery of the paper is mandatory in order to attend the conference.

Dates to remember:

Closing for call for papers: May 1st, 2017.

Notification of paper acceptance: May 10, 2017.

Delivery of paper: June 26, 2017.

Conference: July 11-12-13-14-15, 2017

Attendance fees are not required. Accommodations in hotels which have a special agreement with the Museum of Religions “Raffaele Pettazzoni” are provided. A peer-reviewed edited volume of the papers arising from the conference will be published in Religio. Collana di Studi del Museo delle Religioni “Raffaele Pettazzoni” (Edizioni Quasar)

The conference is part of the third edition of “Castelli Romani. Mito, Religioni e Tradizioni Eno-Gastronomiche” (Roman Castles. Myth, Religions and Food and Wine Traditions). And, it is promoted by the “Raffaele Pettazzoni Museum of Religions” Foundation, and the towns of: Albano Laziale, Ariccia, Artena, Castel Gandolfo, Genzano di Roma, Lanuvio, Lariano, Marino, Nemi, Rocca di Papa and Velletri. Every evening the speakers will be hosted in a different town, where they could take part for free in guided tours of the main museums and monuments.

For information: email: