Doktorand (Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien)


Max-Weber-Kolleg (Steinplatz 2) / Raum 411b (3. OG)

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Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Nordhäuser Str. 63
99089 Erfurt


Universität Erfurt
Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Postfach 90 02 21
99105 Erfurt

Rafael Barroso

Zur Person


  • From October 2020: Doctoral student at the Max-Weber-Kolleg, Erfurt, and at the Facultad de Geografía e Historia, Complutense University of Madrid (Spain).
  • March 2020 – November 2020: Research Assistant at the CIL II Center (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum), University of Alcalá de Henares (Madrid), Spain.
  • October 2019 – January 2020. Visitant researcher at the section of Ancient History, University of Málaga (Spain).
  • March 2018- September 2019. Research Assistant at the Section of Archaeology, University of Córdoba (Spain).
  • September 2016 – September 2017: Master's Studies in “Ciencias de las Religiones”, Complutense University of Madrid (Spain).
  • October 2015 – June 2016: Studies in ancient Greek and Latin languages and literature, Accademia Vivarium Novum, Rome (Italy).
  • September 2010 – September 2015: Bachelor's Studies in History, University of Córdoba (Spain).



This research project aims to analyse the so-called “unusual burials” as funeral rituals within the framework of the social relations maintained between the living and the dead in the Roman world. The elements that have been observed when talking about funeral anomalies are the following: bodies placed in a prone position, presence of nails piercing the funerary urn or the joints of the skeleton, chains around hands or feet, peri or post mortem mutilation of the body and/or placement of its extremities in specific areas (the head between the legs, the hands at the sides of the torso, the displaced kneecaps, the feet above the neck...), the deposition of enormous rocks on top of the body, the appearance of mutilated or sacrificed animals to be buried together with the deceased, or cases in which several of these elements are combined.

My starting premise is that these kinds of burials were neither unusual nor infrequent in Roman times, but they were innovative ritual strategies developed by society to reintegrate certain members of the community (the deceased) into the framework of its worldview. For that, new ways of relating to material culture are used. Thus, I will focus on understanding the social and religious function of artifacts and how materiality and the body were articulated in the ritual to transform (or stop transforming) the individual into a different entity with a new social status and modified agency.

I will explore a specific chronological period to analyse a group of chosen burials in different contexts (mainly from Hispania and the city of Rome) from the 2nd century BC (when the Roman cultural presence is firmly established outside Italy) to the 2nd century AD. Also, to relate them to the different ways of thinking about the deceased's destiny after death, I will connect the analysis of archaeological data to some written sources such as epitaphs and literary works by authors like Plautus, Ovid, Propertius, Virgil, Lucan, Cicero or Porphyry. With this, I seek to respond to the following key questions: How is the corpse transformed into a divine ancestor or into a pernicious entity? How did the artifacts found in the tombs serve to articulate the ritual and to transform the individual? What role did the body and its manipulation by the living have in the correct transition of the deceased to the beyond? How did the deceased and their grave goods relate to the transcendent?


Barroso-Romero, R. A. & Castillo-Lozano, J. A. (2021): “Teorizando la religión y el poder en el mundo antiguo: del discurso al espacio. Nociones introductorias”, R. A. Barroso-Romero & J. A. Castillo-Lozano (eds.), Discurso, espacio y poder en las religiones antiguas, 7-17. Oxford: Archaeopress (Ser. Access Archaeology). ISBN: 978-1-78969-884-8.

Barroso-Romero, R. A. (2021): “Las concepciones escatológicas romanas en el cambio de era: problemas de investigación”, A.B. Ruiz Osuna (coord.), Morir en Hispania. Topografía, rituales y prácticas mágicas en ámbito funerario, 375-391. Sevilla: Universidad de Sevilla (Ser. SPAL Monografías).

Barroso-Romero, R. A. (2020) “Nuevas perspectivas para la docencia universitaria de la mitología clásica: reflexiones desde la interdisciplinariedad”, REDINE (ed.) Edunovatic 2020. Conference proceedings, 5th Virtual International Conference on Education, Innovation and ICT: December 10-11, 2020, 1019. Madrid: Redine.

Barroso-Romero, R. A. (2019) “Propuesta de actividad para el uso de los SIG aplicados al patrimonio histórico-arqueológico para el alumnado de Turismo”, REDINE (ed.) Edunovatic 2019. Conference proceedings, 4th Virtual International Conference on Education, Innovation and ICT: 18-19 December, 2019, 650. Madrid: Redine.

Barroso-Romero, R. A. (2019) “Nuevas señales divinas para tiempos de cambio: la función simbólica de la palmera en el prodigio de Munda", en S. Montero Herrero; J. García Cardiel (coords.), Santuarios oraculares, ritos y prácticas adivinatorias en la Hispania Antigua, Madrid, pp. 233-252. ISBN: 978-84-669-3604-0.

Barroso-Romero, R. A. (2016) “La religión provincial romana en el conventus Cordubensis: un análisis a través de la epigrafía votiva”, Anahgramas: Análisis históricos de Grado y Máster 3, 1-51.