Deficta est – The Curse Tablets of Roman Britain – A Practical Introduction
The curse tablet phenomena is well attested throughout the Roman world. They are the private messages, never to be read, to the exotic gods who controlled all things. Whether for retribution or for luck, they are the gloriously opaque windows into a thoroughly modern ancient world, 1800 years ago. Over 300 have been recovered from Roman Britain. From the petty theft of a humble ring, to unrequited love, the curse tablets from Roman Britain are the real Romans, warts and all.
This event is part presentation and part practical. The first section of the talk will focus on examples of curse tablets recovered from Britain, highlighting the basic mechanisms the Romano-British utilised in the preparation and delivery of the curse tablets.
The second section will be a practical activity, in which small groups will study a Roman curse tablet. Utilising the skills from the lecture, participants will be asked to recognise the basic stylistic and formulaic elements of the tablets, and form a hypotheses of the date and function of the curse.
Speaker: Paddy Lambert, Oxford Archaeology East
FREE for FRAG members
Paddy specialises in the history and material culture of the Roman world, with special interests in cultural syncretism and epigraphy. He has worked extensively on Roman sites across the UK and in Europe, most recently working on an extensive Roman villa in the south west.