Workshop in Uppsala – 8 December 2022 – Complexity of Sacred Spaces

As part of my research fellowship in Uppsala, I am co-organizing, with Axel Frejman and Gunnel Ekroth, an informal afternoon workshop under the title More Than a Place of Worship: Complexity at Sacred Sites in the Ancient World. This will be held on 8 December 2022, in Uppsala, at the Department of Classical Archaeology and Ancient History.

Sanctuaries in the ancient world are often considered for their rituals, their monumental architecture, or their political dynamics, but rarely are they understood as highly layered spaces that fulfilled a variety of meanings for a variety of users, with a variety of motives. Such complexity shows the real magnitude of these religious sites, yet this is often overlooked as scholarly studies tend to focus on single types of sources or aspects. This workshop aims to transcend the regular disciplinary boundaries by engaging scholars at different stages in their careers from Groningen and Uppsala and from different areas – theology, archaeology, and ancient history – who use both textual and material culture to understand the multifarious functions of sanctuaries.


  • 13:15-13:30 – Intro
  • 13:30-14:00 – Adam Wiznura (PhD Ancient History, Groningen), ‘Problematizing sacred space: The Thessalian sanctuary of Athena Itonia
  • 14:00-14:30 – Håkan Bengtsson (Associate Professor, Theology, Uppsala),  ‘Memories of holiness and contested claims: The case of the Temple Mount / Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem
  • 14:30-15:00 – Christina Williamson (Associate Professor, Ancient History, Groningen), ‘Sanctuaries as complex timescapes: The Asklepieion of Pergamon
  • 15:00-15:30 – FIKA – coffee break
  • 15:30-16:00 – Pim Schievink (PhD Ancient History, Groningen) ‘Constructing the sacred on Kos: Voices, practices, and experiences in the Asklepieion of Kos during the Hellenistic period’
  • 16:00-16:30 – Gunnel Ekroth (Full Professor, Classical Archaeology, Uppsala), ‘What’s in a name? Temenos and hieron as designations of sacred space
  • 16:30-17:00 – discussion
  • 17:00 – ?? Drinks and buffet dinner in Engelska Parken

This workshop is sponsored by AGORA, the Uppsala research network for archaeology and ancient history, the ENLIGHT (Groningen) inter-university organization, CRASIS, the Groningen research network for culture, religion, and society in antiquity, and the Department of Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Uppsala.

If you would like to join online, please contact us for the zoom link at: