Dr Eberhard Sauer on religious hatred and the Alchester Fort

On April 5, Dr. Eberhard Sauer will be giving two different talks in Loulé and Lagoa. Eberhard Sauer read archaeology at the universities of Tubingen, Freiburg and Oxford (Keble College). He has taught at the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at Leicester, where he is still an Honorary Lecturer. Since 2003, he has been a lecturer in Classical Archaeology at Edinburgh University.

His first talk, at Loulé Municipal Library at 2.30pm, will be on the archaeology of religious hatred. In March 2001, the world watched in disbelief when the Taliban blew up the gigantic stone Budda statues at Bamiyan. Few are conscious of the fact that such religious zeal to ‘free’ the world from ‘pagan’ art follows an old tradition and Dr. Sauer will explore what role it played in transforming the colourful world of Roman paganism into medieval Christianity.

All over the ancient world, images have been found which bear deep scars from iconoclastic attacks. Previous studies on this phenomenon have mainly focused on ancient literature, yet the surviving remains of these onslaughts form a powerful complement to eyewitness accounts, archaeology helps us to understand radical changes in world history.

Following this, at the Convento de São José in Lagoa at 6.30pm, the talk will be on Vespasian’s base, the Alchester Fortress. This excavation site, 10 miles from Oxford at Alchester, has yielded a series of unusual discoveries, including Britain’s earliest Roman tree-ring, the earliest evidence of the importation of four plant species and the earliest flowing water supply system of any site in the UK. Inscriptions have been found that provide hints that the Emperor Vespasian (AD 69-79) had been based at Alchester.

Non-members are welcome to attend these talks for a fee of five euros. Contact the AAA on tel/fax 289 992 466.