ISBN: 978-2-87457-118-3
9,50 €

The roman necropolis of via Cesana in Mutina (Modena). A multiproxy analysis of the funerary rituals (meals, fragrances and cosmetics evidence)

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by Federica Maria RISO, in Res Antiquae 17, 2020.

The aim of the study is the investigation of funerary rituals  in a necropolis of Mutina (now Modena), a Roman colony of the Cisalpine founded in 183 BC along the Via Aemilia, important both for military-strategic and economic reasons. Despite a lot of information about funerary rituals have been passed on in a big variety of written documents, of painted documentations, there is still the need of a multidisciplinary approach when dealing with death and the relative rituals in order to fully understand them. The research focused on foodstuffs and fragrances, the offers that were widespread during the Roman funerary ceremonies. An archaeobotanical approach was carried out on the necropolis of Via Cesana analysing ten graves of cremation type. These remains of meals and fragrances are evidences resulting from the attendance of the funeral space and their identification necessarily requires a strategy for their systematic collection, during the excavation phase and a focused analysis, in order to reconstruct the activities carried out around the death, which characterize three important moments: funeral, implementation of the tomb and visit to the dead. Seeds/fruits mostly belong to cultivated plants or, anyway, plants that can be used as food, mostly in the categories of Cereals, Pulses and Fruit plants. The choice of this kind of foodstuff is linked to a funerary symbology. It was also analysed the content of a little askos where it was found a sparrow egg, a barley caryopses and a  grape flower. This last one could be a residue of a basis for the preparation of many famous fragrances.

Keywords: funerary ritual, archaeobotany, tomography, Mutina, Modena, unguentaria, parfum, food offering