A.T. Wilburn, Materia Magica The Archaeology of Magic in Roman Egypt, Cyprus, and Spain
Materia Magica: The Archaeology of Magic in Roman Egypt, Cyprus, and Spain
Andrew T. Wilburn
Approaches ancient magical practice through archaeology and social history
Series New Texts from Ancient Cultures
Studying the remains of spells enacted by practitioners, Wilburn's work unites the analysis of the words written on artifacts and the physical form of these objects. He situates these items within their contexts, to study how and why they were used. Materia Magica approaches magic as a material endeavor, in which spoken spells, ritual actions, and physical objects all played vital roles in the performance of a rite.
Materia Magica develops a new method for identifying and interpreting the material remains of magical practice by assessing artifacts within their archaeological contexts. Wilburn suggests that excavations undertaken in recent centuries can yield important lessons about the past, and he articulates the ways in which we can approach problematic data.
Andrew T. Wilburn is Associate Professor of Classics at Oberlin College.