Dr. Matthew McCarty, Assistant Professor of Roman Archaeology, is on the organizing committee of an international conference on the Archaeology of Mithraism taking place this October 23-29 in Alba Iulia, Romania. Dr. McCarty has been involved in excavations at the Apulum Mithraeum III in Alba Iulia as well.
Here is some information from the conference website:
Despite being known primarily from its material remains, cults of Mithras across the empire have rarely been studied side-by-side from an archaeological perspective to answer questions about connectivity and ritual practice. The canonical studies of the cult focus instead on monumental remains, on images, and on questions of doctrine and belief. Yet this insistence on understanding symbolic content of a cult stands in sharp contrast to the directions of scholarship on Roman religion more broadly. It is widely accepted that religion in the Roman world was predicated upon ritual practice. There was no doctrine, or orthodoxy; instead, any propositional claims concerning divine powers were made, learned, and proved via action: “faire, c’est croire.”As an integral part of this ritualized religious system, Mithraism ought to be studied first on the basis of its practices, and new scientific excavations of mithraea offer the unique opportunity to see the ways that ancient worshippers conducted their rites.
To harness the possibilities of archaeological approaches to Mithraism, this colloquium will bring together scholars from across Europe and North America who have excavated or worked closely with the material remains from mithraea. Many of these sites remain un- or only partially published; the opportunity to share and discuss this material is thus doubly important for moving Mithraic studies forward. Alba Iulia, the site of a newly discovered mithraeum (and the first to be scientifically excavated in the province of Dacia), will host the gathering.
For more information visit: mithraism.ubc.ca