Visualizing the Invisible: How Can We Model Roman Religious Processions?

Author(s): Katherine Crawford

Year: 2017


Religious processions colored the ancient world, filling a city’s streets with a multi-sensorial display of sounds and images. Although the presence of processional activity is acknowledged as a regular occurrence in the Roman world, our understanding of their movement patterns and their effect on the cityscape remains understudied. The record of processions was held primarily in the memories of those who experienced or took part in the festival, only manifesting within the archaeological record as a testament to their occurrence in the form of temples or monumental arches. The nuances of how a procession traversed a city’s streets and its urban impact are not easily revealed. Applying a computer-based approach to the study of processional activity allows new questions to be asked of a well-recognized Roman ritual. This paper considers the role that processions played within the city of Ostia, Rome’s ancient port. The application of a model-based methodology allows for critical analysis of a procession’s movement patterns by studying processions as a dynamic event that engaged both with a city’s inhabitants and the built environment. The use of computer models in combination with archaeological material offers new insight into ritual experiences within Ostia.

Cite this Record

Visualizing the Invisible: How Can We Model Roman Religious Processions?. Katherine Crawford. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431524)



Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16905