HART Seminar: “Approaching identity through space and material culture: The case study of the Rock Sanctuary at Sagalassos”, Peter Talloen, 5:30PM April 26 (EN)

Evening Lecture by Peter Talloen (Assistant professorat İsparta University, Director of the Sagalassos Excavations):
Approaching identity through space and material culture: The case study of the Rock Sanctuary at Sagalassos (SW Turkey)
On Wednesday 26 April 2023 at 17:30 in C-Block Amphi
Approaching the identity of the people whose traces we are uncovering in the archaeological record, is one of the most difficult tasks for archaeologists, a task which is not made easier by the very complex nature of identity.This paper intends to demonstrate that material culture – the main object of archaeological study – is in fact structured by aspects of individual and communal identity. Furthermore, the places where this material culture was used, were equally socially constructed, inhabited and imbued with identities, memories, and values. Taken together, these archaeologically susceptible categories provide us with proxies to study aspects of the identity/identities of groups and individuals that frequented those places and were socially active there. To this end, the case-study of the Rock Sanctuary will be presented.This distinctive limestone rock outcrop with natural cavities, situated in the southeastern periphery of the city of Sagalassos in the ancient region of Pisidia (SW-Turkey) served as a cult site for certain social groups during the Late Hellenistic and Early Roman Imperial periods.Rescue excavations carried out at the site yielded evidence for the deposition of specialized offerings in the form of ceramic, glass, metal and stone vessels, pieces of personal adornment, instruments for textile production, but especially many thousands of fragments of terracotta figurines, all of which identified the Rock Sanctuary as a “special-purpose site”.The paper will focus on how cult site and cult activity were interrelated, and how this in turn informs on the social agents involved.
Peter Talloen studied Archaeology at the University of Leuven, Belgium. His doctoral research at the same university (PhD 2003)focused on the religious practices in ancient Pisidia (SW Turkey)from the Hellenistic to the Byzantine period. During his postdoctoral study of the Christianisation of Pisidia at Leuven (2003-2006), he specialised in the Christianisation of space and material culture. After research fellowships of the British Institute of Archaeology in Ankara (2011-2012) and the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations of Koç University in Istanbul (2012-2013) he returned to Leuven as a postdoctoral researcher (2013-2018), to study the urbanisation process at the city of Sagalassos, as well as the religious life of its inhabitants.Since 2019, he is Assistant Professor of Classical Archaeology at the SüleymanDemirel University in Isparta, a position which he now combines with a professorship at Leuven University.As long-standing member of the Sagalassos Project, he became co-director responsible for the excavations in 2018 and from 2023 onward, he is set to direct the excavations and restorations at the ancient city of Sagalassos in Southwest Türkiye.