Appel à communication : « Shoes, Slippers and Sandals : Feet and Footwear in Antiquity » (Newcastle, juin 2015)

Pied colossal, sculpture romaine du IIIe siècle, Tunisie, musée national du Bardo,Ancient dress and adornment has received significant consideration in recent scholarship. Yet, detailed study of footwear is still limited. Circumstances of survival mean few ancient ‘shoes’ are today extant. Many examples from sculpture were no doubt originally painted, whereas vase-painting conventions can at times render them absent. Feet and legs are one of the few body parts to form vase shapes. Often too small to have a practical purpose, these vessels are not a perfunctory choice. Much as other clothing, sandals, slippers and boots are functional, sometimes indicative of status, but equally decorative. Their style and appearance can define sculpture chronology. When represented, footwear often forms an important metaphor in both literary and visual narrative. This conference seeks to consider the meaning attributed to footwear in both material and written contexts, not only for its wearers, but also implied through its use, in the varied situations it appears.

Proposals for 20 minute papers are invited for a two-day interdisciplinary conference from scholars and postgraduate students working in fields of archaeology, classics and history of art. Additional topics are welcomed, but suggested subjects may include:

  • The appearance and/or absence of footwear
  • Shoes, sex and status
  • Sandals for the gods
  • Myth, ritual and meaning

Abstracts of no more than 300-words should be sent by Monday 12th January 2015 to :
Dr Sally Waite ( and Dr Sadie Pickup (

The conference will be held at the Great North Museum, Newcastle, with a visit to Vindolanda Roman fort and museum also scheduled for 1st July. The standard conference fee is £50 and £35 for students. Tea/coffee, lunches and transport to Vindolanda are included.

Great North Museum, Newcastle, UK: 29th June – 30th June 2015.



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