Reconsidering the Butt Road "Church," Colchester: Another Mithraeum?

Walsh, David (2018) Reconsidering the Butt Road "Church," Colchester: Another Mithraeum? Journal of Late Antiquity, 11 (2). pp. 339-374. ISSN 1939-6716. E-ISSN 1942-1273. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1353/jla.2018.0021) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/jla.2018.0021

Abstract

In recent decades, archaeologists in regions such as Germany, Italy, and France have developed an increasingly robust approach to the identification of early churches and thus dismissed a number of formerly misidentified examples in the process. In Britain, however, various supposed "churches" discovered in the twentieth century continue to be referred to as such despite a lack of strong evidence to substantiate this. One such example is a structure found at Butt Road, Colchester. In this article, the issues surrounding the interpretation of this building as a church are revisited and enhanced, while it is illustrated why other interpretations, such as a "pagan funerary banqueting hall," are also unlikely. Following this, the possibility that the building served as a mithraeum is put forward, for mithraea offer stronger parallels that account for the building's size and structure, as well as its faunal and small-find assemblages. As such, it will highlight the need to revisit other previously identified "churches" from Roman Britain and to apply a more rigorous analysis, which may yield alternative conclusions.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Classical and Archaeological Studies
Depositing User: David Walsh
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2019 10:27 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2019 11:19 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/71655 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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