• Curing with Creepy Crawlies: A Phenomenological Approach to Beetle Pendants Used in Roman Magical and Medicinal Practice

    Author(s):
    Adam Parker (see profile)
    Date:
    2019
    Group(s):
    Ancient Greece & Rome, Archaeology, Classical archaeology, Roman archaeology
    Subject(s):
    Roman archaeology, Greek and Roman archaeology, Phenomenology, Material culture, Medicine, Roman
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Entomology, Beetle
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/gen9-d019
    Abstract:
    Evidence for some ephemeral, Roman, ritual practices, particularly using organic materials, is lost to us. This paper will introduce a case study which has not been previously considered as a platform to explore the material relationships between invertebrates and their use in magical or medicinal practices. Through a combination of discussing the biology and zoogeography of the stag beetle Lucanus cervus, in combination with a phenomenological approach to the topic that considers the beetles as real, living creatures and situates them within a living and changing environment throughout, this paper raises questions about, and adds colour to, our understanding of the potential uses of stag beetles as pendants for such purposes in the Roman world. Experimental investigations using other beetle species were undertaken as part of this investigation to show that there are significant logistical issues which may have been encountered during the preparation of an insect for the purpose of personal adornment. The novel approach adopted in this paper is multidisciplinary, drawing on strands of biology, archaeoentomology, materiality, and sensory archaeologies, in addition to the experimental reconstructions.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 months ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial
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