About

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The Baron Thyssen Centre for the Study of Ancient Material Religion is based in the Department of Classical Studies at The Open University. The Centre supports research into the material, visual and other sensory aspects of ancient religions, focusing primarily on the Greek, Etruscan and Roman worlds. Collaboratively, we explore the sacred objects, bodies and rituals of classical antiquity, addressing such topics as votives, magic, oracles, cult statues, pilgrimage, places and sacred healing. We work with art and archaeology, but we also look beyond these conventional ‘homes’ of ancient material religion, drawing on the methods, tools and perspectives of literature, philology, philosophy, classical reception studies and digital humanities. Our aims are (1) to support the systematic study of how ancient religion happened in and through material things, and (2) to bring this ancient evidence into productive dialogue with the debates and scholarship on material religions in later historical periods, right up to the present day.

The work of the Centre would not be possible without the generous support of Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza. You can find news of upcoming seminars and conferences on the Projects and Events page, and you can follow us on Twitter @OpenMatRel and Instagram @OpenMaterialReligion.

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Photograph ON THIS PAGE REPRODUCED WITH THE KIND PERMISSION OF BARON THYSSEN-BORNEMISZA