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Speaker: Abigail Graham (ICS)

Location: Senate House MakerSpace (room 265)

Free but booking essential

Monumental erasures often represented with double brackets [[ ]] in published texts and/or described as "damnatio memoriae" (a modern term) can present an image of uniformity in purpose, function, and outcome. In reality, however, erasures could have very different appearances, aims, and outcomes on the monumental landscapes: some were complete, some partial, and others reinscribed. Some erasures remained legible, some rough and others polished. The physicality of an erasure played a key role in how it was interpreted by a broader audience of viewers. Rather than forgetting or obfuscating the past, the shadows cast by erasures were often more visible and likely to catch the eye of passing viewers, regardless of literacy. Do erasures present an image of uniformity, or might they reveal more about the limitations and practicalities of this process? How might these acts impact ancient viewers and their memories? Who carried out these erasures? Between the brackets, there is a great deal we don't know about this phenomenon.

In this interactive workshop, we will explore the physicality and variations in monumental erasures in a series of case studies, primarily from Roman Ephesus, that assess the many faces of condemnation (in inscriptions, accompanying art and historical accounts) as well as practical constraints in the process. In closing, we will also consider longer-term consequences and reception in modern cultural heritage.