When is a womb not a womb?

Helen King is Professor Emerita in Classical Studies at the Open University. She has a particular interest in midwifery and gynaecology and has published widely on ancient medicine and its reception, as well as gender and the history of the body. Is it time to revisit the identification of votive body parts? Specifically, votive wombs;…

Tabitha Moses installation view

The Go Between, by Tabitha Moses

Often, on holiday, I seek out the sacred wells, the ribbon-tied trees and the chapels full of objects and notes asking for help or giving thanks. Out of curiosity, plain nosiness; I’m drawn to the glimpse into another’s life, or death. Why is that? Do I find comfort that someone else has it worse than…

Votives on display (Part 1)

Last weekend I was at the 2015 Classical Association Conference in Bristol and, after my paper on the sensory experience of dedicating infant votives, I was asked a question about where these votive objects were placed and how were they ‘displayed’. If they were placed on an altar or something similar, I was asked, could…

Wombs and tombs

A recent paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science uses DNA evidence to assert that Roman infanticide was not selective, and that girls were killed no more frequently than their brothers. The paper does not question whether infanticide was a reality of ancient life, but does stress that it was not used to ‘manipulate the…