Ritual and Gender

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Dr Camilla Norman visited the The Baron Thyssen Centre for the Study of Ancient Material Religion on 13th June 2019, to give a paper entitled “The Ritual Ecology of Archaic South-East Italy”. After the seminar, Jessica Hughes and Camilla Norman were joined by Professor Phil Perkins and Dr Eleanor Betts to record an audio discussion about ritual and gender in pre-Roman Italy. The discussion also features the voice of Frances Eley, who spoke about her experiences of performing sacred drama with a women’s group in Kent.

You can listen to this recording via the Soundcloud link above.

Programme structure and timecodes

0.00 Intro

0.36 Camilla Norman on the statue stelae from the south Italian region of Daunia (northern Apulia and north-east Basilicata).

6.41 Phil Perkins on the literary and archaeological evidence for ritual gender in Etruria.

15.50 Camilla Norman and Phil Perkins on the representation of attributes indicating gender, age and social status in Daunia and Etruria.

19.29 Eleanor Betts on Picenum and the cult of the goddess Cubrar Matrer.

24.16 Frances Eley on performing sacred drama with a women's group in the contemporary UK.

29.55 Responses to Frances Eley.

35.16 Phil Perkins on a bronze female figurine from Monte Falterona

40.54 Eleanor Betts on the large bronze rings found in male and female burials in Picenum.

43.35 Camilla Norman on a Daunian matt-painted pot featuring a possible female augur.


Further reading

On the Daunian stelae

Nava, M. L., (ed.), (1988) Le Stele della Daunia, Milan.

Norman, Camilla (2018) ‘Illyrian Vestiges in Daunian Costume: tattoos, string aprons and a helmet’ in Gianfranco De Benedittis (ed.), Realtà medioadriatiche a confronto: contatti e scambi tra le due sponde, Considerazioni di Storia ed Archeologia. Universita degli studi del Molise, pp. 57-71

Norman, Camilla (2016) ‘Daunian Women: costume and actions commemorated in stone’, in Stephanie Lynn Budin and Jean MacIntosh Turfa (eds), Women in Antiquity. Real women across the ancient world, pp. 865-876.

Norman, Camilla (2011) ‘The Tribal Tattooing of Daunian Women’, European Journal of Archaeology 14 (1-2) 2011, pp. 133-157.

Norman, Camilla (2011) ‘Weaving, Gift and Wedding. A Local Identity for the Daunian Stelae’, in M. Gleba and H.W. Horsnaes (eds), Communicating Identity in Iron Age Italic Communities, Oxford, Oxbow Books, pp. 33-49.

On ritual and gender in Etruria

Edlund-Berry, Ingrid (2013) ‘Religion: the gods and the places’, in Jean MacIntosh Turfa (ed.) The Etruscan World, Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 557-65.

Gleba, Margarita and Becker, Hilary (2009) 'Votives, Places, and Rituals in Etruscan Religion: Studies in Honor of Jean MacIntosh Turfa, Leiden, Brill.

Izzet, Vedia, (1998) ‘Holding a mirror to Etruscan gender’, in Ruth D. Whitehouse (ed.) Gender and Italian archaeology : challenging the stereotypes,  New York, Routledge, pp.209-227.

Maras, Daniele F. (2014) ‘Religion’, in Alessandro Naso (ed.) Handbook of Etruscology, Boston-Berlin, De Gruyter, p.277-316.

Nagy, Helen (2016) ‘Votives in their larger religious context’, in Sinclair Bell and, Alexandra Ann Carpino (eds) A Companion To The Etruscans, Wiley Blackwell, Malden MA, pp. 261-274.

Rafanelli,  Simona (2013) ‘Archaeological evidence for Etruscan religious rituals’, in Jean MacIntosh Turfa (ed.) The Etruscan World, Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 566-93.

Warden, P. Gregory (2016) ‘Communicating with gods: sacred space in Etruria’, in Sinclair Bell and Alexandra Ann Carpino (eds) A Companion To The Etruscans, Wiley Blackwell, Malden MA, pp.162-78.

On the religion of the Picenes

Betts, Eleanor (2013) ‘Cubrar matrer: goddess of the Picenes?’ Accordia Research Papers, 12 pp. 119–147.

Betts, Eleanor (2003) ‘The sacred landscape of Picenum (900-100 BC): towards a phenomenology of cult places’, in John B. Wilkins and Edward Herring (eds.) Inhabiting Symbols: symbol and image in the ancient Mediterranean. Accordia Specialist Studies on the Mediterranean (5). London: Accordia Research Institute, University of London, pp. 101–120.


You can read an interview with Frances Eley in the 2017 issue of Practitioners’ Voices in Classical Reception Studies (interview by Emma Bridges).

Frances has also written an article for The Votives Project, entitled Votives for Artemis: A Practitioner’s View.


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