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Dr Emma-Jayne Graham (Open) Into the woods: Place and pilgrimage in early Roman Italy

A decade ago, it was suggested that pilgrimage ‘seems to play a smaller part in Roman religion than in Greek’ (Elsner and Rutherford 2007, p. 24). Nonetheless, archaeological evidence from mid-Republican Italy indicates that the inhabitants of towns and villages made use of a range of sacred sites located in various extra-urban settings across the landscape. This paper will explore the evidence for pilgrimage from sites such as these in early Roman Latium, reframing this activity in relation to the performance of movement for ritual purposes and the temporality of place. Focusing closely on evidence from two sacred sites – the well-known monumental sanctuary dedicated to Diana Nemorensis at Aricia, and a much less well-known natural cave and spring at Pantanacci near Lanuvium – it will be suggested that pilgrimage certainly did play a part in early Roman religion, albeit in forms and for reasons that have not been explored before.

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Amory C417