Welcome, weary traveller, to the Sanctuary of Diana. Relax in the comfort of our peaceful grove by the side of this beautiful lake, the ‘Mirror of Diana’. Whether you have come from Rome or even farther afield, here your cares of daily life will be smoothed away as you are inspired, refreshed and healed of your pains and woes. Dedicate a votive at the temple to our divine goddess and she will ease your troubles. If you haven’t brought your own offering, don’t worry – there are plenty of stalls selling objects to represent any problem you might have. But, please, don’t venture too far into the wood, for there a shadowy figure lurks, waiting to make his violent takeover of this sacred place.
Two thousand years ago the Sanctuary of Diana, nestled beside a large, volcanic lake at Nemi, some 16 miles South East of Rome, was a thriving hub for ancient religious pilgrims. As early as 500 BC local peoples had used the idyllic sacred grove next to the lake as a place of worship. It grew to become an important religious centre – with a temple, baths and even a theatre – and was visited by people from the surrounding cities until the 2nd century AD. When the site was excavated in 1885 thousands of objects were unearthed which had all been brought to this sacred site to honour the goddess: from life-size statues of real ancient Romans to jewellery, inscriptions, household items and hundreds of purpose-made models of human body-parts, from the eye to the uterus.
Today Nottingham Castle’s museum in the UK, houses around half of this magnificent collection. In 2013 The Treasures of Nemi: Finds From The Sanctuary Of Diana revealed these objects to the public for the first time in thirty years, showcasing many objects never before on display.
Six postgraduate researchers worked with the museum as part of the AHRC-funded project Hidden Collections: From Archive to Asset to digitally engage with this exhibition, gathering the ideas of experts and novices alike on Nemi and her amazing objects. In this blog which they created you can discover the story of how these ancient Roman artefacts made their journey from Nemi to Nottingham; find out what these intriguing objects meant to the ancient people who made the long journey to dedicate them; learn the truth behind what really went on at this mysterious sanctuary – talked of in ancient times as a place of worship but also surrounded by disturbing myths of violence. During the project, the star of the show, the formidable matrona Fundilia Rufa, kept us up to date with her very own Twitter and Facebook pages!
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Nemi to Nottingham: Following in the Footsteps of Fundilia by Hidden Collections is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://hiddencollections.org.
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