Architecture and Materials of Prestige
Academic Year April 2023 - March 2024
The fourth year will explore the representation of political rule in material culture and architecture of the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa. The “material culture” approach is distinct from that of art history in that it explores the social reality reflected in objects and architecture. Through an analysis of objects of prestige (glazed and painted ceramics, metal objects, representative architecture) it investigates changes in the elite culture of the region. Material culture serves as a source for understanding the identity of the Roman, Visigothic, and Islamic population. The import of prestige objects led to local industry’s adaptation to the aesthetics of the respective empire which then contributed to the cultural identity of the empire. The objects reveal tendencies towards Romanization and Islamication/Islamization. A change in the prestige value of the Celt-Iberian culture can be discerned in the objects, as can a frequent indiscernibility of any North African Berber culture. An analysis proposes a more precise insight into shifts in elite identity.