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Roman Strigillated SarcophagiArt and Social History$
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Janet Huskinson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199203246

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199203246.001.0001

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Strigillated Sarcophagi and their Burial Contexts

Strigillated Sarcophagi and their Burial Contexts

(p.63) 4 Strigillated Sarcophagi and their Burial Contexts
Roman Strigillated Sarcophagi

Janet Huskinson

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews the placement of strigillated sarcophagi in tombs, to examine their likely visual impact. Given the diversity of tomb types in Rome and Ostia, and complex archaeology in many tombs which were used over generations, it concentrates on a few sites which preserve evidence for a considered display. The first examples are tombs which accommodated both cremation and inhumation burials, while the rest were used only for burials. The chapter concludes that these particular sites have certain common features, such as the placement of sarcophagi in specially designed niches and axial sight lines. Within them strigillated sarcophagi were particularly suited as memorials given their austere designs and inscription panels. Like other sarcophagi they were often hard to see in crowded tombs, and were occasionally interred below the floor, suggesting an ambivalence towards the human viewer; but even if invisible, their decoration remained important.

Keywords:   tomb types, conscious display, visibility, visual impact, viewer

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