Special Issue

TRAJ Special Issue: “Sensory Experiences in the Roman North”

The senses were functionally significant to all aspects of Roman life and played a central role in private and public events, from religious ceremonies to gladiatorial fights. While the sense of sight has dominated archaeological practice and theory for decades, scholars are now keen to address the ancient sensorium as a whole. The so-called ‘sensory turn’ in Classics/Classical Archaeology has generated a raft of high-profile publications and conference sessions in recent years, but the allure of literary sources and high-profile archaeological sites in Latium and Campania has been strong.

This special issue, however, will focus on the sensory implications of archaeological material from a region so-far neglected by sensory studies: the ‘Roman North’ (including modern France, western Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Britain and immediately adjacent areas), from the earliest interactions with Roman civilisation to Late Antiquity. Our contributors will discuss the sensory impact that the influx of external material culture, behaviours, urbanism, and populations had on indigenous communities in the northern provinces, reconstructing complex processes of negotiation, resistance, and adaptation. This special issue aims to use the impetus of the ‘sensory turn’ to re-invigorate debates and (re)apply approaches from other disciplines related to embodied sensory experience in the ‘Roman North’, for example phenomenology, sense of place, sensorial assemblage theory, design/craft theory, and other approaches more traditionally rooted in anthropology, geography, sociology, science and technology studies, and urban planning.


The deadline for manuscript submission is September 1st 2022, with the articles to be published when they are ready following peer-review in 2023. Authors of papers that move past the first round of peer review will be encouraged to read and discuss, with the Guest Editors, the editorial that will accompany the Special Issue.

Author guidelines, peer-review process, and submission process

Authors are invited to submit their manuscripts via the online submission system at https://traj.openlibhums.org/submissions/. Please indicate in the Comments for Editors that this submission is intended for the ‘Sensory Experiences in the Roman North’ special issue. 

Please note that articles cannot exceed 10,000 words in length, including bibliography. TRAJ also supports the publishing of supplementary material if necessary. Prior to submission authors should carefully read the TRAJ author guidelines https://traj.openlibhums.org/site/author-guidelines/

All TRAJ submissions will undergo double blind peer review, managed by the special issue guest editors and the TRAJ editorial board. 

Please contact the guest editors with any ideas for papers you wish to submit in advance of the September deadline. A formal proposal or abstract is not necessary but it may be advantageous to discuss ideas and article appropriateness ahead of the deadline. However, we will also consider papers which have not been discussed in advance.

We look forward to receiving your submission by September 1st, 2022.


The Guest Editors:

Dr Thomas J. Derrick, University of Leicester (tjderrick@gmail.com)

Dr Giacomo Savani, University of St Andrews (giacomo.savani@gmail.com)

An Introductory Bibliography

Sensory Archaeology

  1. Day (ed.), Making Senses of the Past: Towards a Sensory Archaeology (Carbondale: Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Southern Illinois University Press, 2013)
  2. Fahlander and A. Kjellström (eds), Making Sense of Things: Archaeologies of Sensory Perception (Stockholm: Stockholm University, 2010)
  3. Hamilakis, Archaeology and the Senses: Human Experience, Memory, and Affect (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014)
  4. Neumann and T. Allison (eds), The Routledge Handbook of the Senses in the Ancient Near East (London and New York : Routledge, 2021)
  5. Skeates, An Archaeology of the Senses: Prehistoric Malta (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)

  6. Skeates and J. Day (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Sensory Archaeology (London and New York : Routledge, 2019)


Sensory Archaeology in Classics

  1. Betts (ed.), Senses of the Empire: Multisensory Approaches to Roman Culture (London and New York: Routledge, 2017)
  2. Bradley (ed.), Smell and the Ancient Senses (London and New York: Routledge, 2015)
  3. Hunter-Crawley, ‘Classical Archaeology and the Senses: A Paradigmatic Shift?’, in The Routledge Handbook of Sensory Archaeology, ed. R. Skeates and J. Day (London and New York: Routledge, 2019), 434–62
  4. Toner (ed.), A Cultural History of the Senses in Antiquity (London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014)


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