2. The origin of the vases called gutti, and the reasons that pushed the ancient Greeks to deposit them in children and adult burials (in collaboration with Dominique Frère and Carla del Vais, Università degli Studi di Sassari).
This study builds on my doctoral thesis From breast to bottle: material and symbolic culture of feeding toddlers in Roman Gaul [see below]. Towards the end of the research carried for my thesis, new questions were raised. The food and therapeutic function of the so-called ‘baby bottles’ was established, but this lead me to wonder why they were deposited in adult and children graves, both among the Gallo Romans and earlier among the populations of Greece, Sicily, Sardinia and the Italian peninsula. The origin of the deposition practices of these bottle-feeding vessels has yet to be established and seems more complex than it seemed at first. Thus, a review of these specific vessels in these various cultural contexts is planned: a stylistic and typological study coupled with biochemical analyzes of the content of these vessels.
3. The milk of plants, its use and symbolism in the Greek and Roman worlds, (with Isabelle Boehm, University of Light Lyon 2).
Plant metaphors are almost omnipresent, according to Florence Dupont, when representing man’s growth development. We find them too in representations of family ‘lineage’, as shown by a recent study on filiation plant metaphors in the Roman world. In the pathological and anatomical domains, whether it is to designate parts of the body of a healthy man or, on the contrary, to name abnormal growths, plant metaphors are also often used (cf. F. Skoda’s important study). Vegetation is also particularly suitable to be compared to the human body, inasmuch as various liquids, such as sap, travel through the body of the living plant in a similar way as the liquids that flow through living men.
There is however a liquid with a special status, milk: nourishing and maternal, it is characteristic of mammals. Yet, certain seemingly ‘milky’ plant humours led Greeks and Romans to create metaphors to compare humans and plants. What type of metaphors are these? In what way do they function, from plant to human or vice versa? To answer this question, our research will focus on medical, philosophical, biological, and naturalistic treatises in Greek and Latin, from the 5th c. BC to the 5th c. CE. We will discuss the process at work and its potential importance in the Greco-Roman world.
4. Therapeutic substances in burials (associated with the APR Project directed by Sandrine Linger-Riquier, INRAP – UMR 7324 CITERES Laboratory Archeology and Territories).
The collective research project Althéré, Alimentation et Thérapeutique en Région Centre-Val de Loire, de la protohistoire au Moyen-Age, aims to identify the contents of containers through biochemical analyzes in gas or liquid chromatography, coupled with mass spectrometry (GC / LC-MS). This method currently constitutes the only reliable alternative to access the contents of the vases without apparent residues. This project has three main objectives:
– to identify the contents of the containers by biochemical analyzes and to specify their effective use according to the contexts (domestic, funeral, cultual or artisanal);
– to identify the imported substances and update phytochemistry reference depositories;
– to seek the dietary, therapeutic, ritual, artisanal or other finality of the preparations in the ancient and medieval textual sources.
5. Representing Genitalia in the Ancient Mediterranean: Digital Cataloging Project, avec Tom Blanton (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago / Max Weber Kolleg, University of Erfurt), Philippe Guillaume (Université de Berne) et Joy Rivault (Bordeaux Montaigne et IFEA).
From the earliest artistic depictions on record, homo sapiens have been fascinated with the human anatomy, including its genitalia. The study of this material is vital for understanding ancient perceptions of gender, sexuality, and the human life cycle, although much of the relevant material – including statuary, frescoes, vase paintings, hermaic pillars, votives and figurines, gems and amulets – remains uncatalogued and/or unpublished.
Our team is planning to construct an online database of material related to artistic representations of human genitalia from the Mediterranean basin, including but not limited to Greece, the Levant, Egypt, and Rome and its provinces, from the seventh century BCE to the fourth century CE. The project, entitled Representing Genitalia in the Ancient Mediterranean: Digital Cataloguing Project will consist of a website hosting a searchable database of relevant material, periodic blog posts discussing and interpreting some of the artefacts included in the database, and occasional longer papers to be posted by researchers on the site. The material included in the database will later form the basis of research papers to be presented at colloquia hosted by our group. These papers will then form the basis of special editions of a journal or edited volumes in the future.