L’ombra dei gesti. Dal dato materiale alla ricostruzione del rito
The paper reflects on methods of approaching the reconstruction of Roman funerary rituals. The analysis takes the cue from the enigmatic small ceramic pots frequently found in high imperial graves from Opitergium. To investigate their function, several aspects are weighted together: the gender and age of the deceased, the size of the containers, the frequency of double deposition, their location inside the tombs and the association with other grave goods. Then the essay moves on how material data returns a lot of useful information for a more precise definition of ritual gestures. Visible and invisible must be combined: the paper focuses at the end on the use of biochemical analysis to uncover the original organic contents and to reconstruct the food offerings and purification rites carried out at the burial.