The 2023/24 lecture series is being held in collaboration with the
Department of Classics and Archaeology, University of Malta.
Special thanks to the head of department Dr Carmel Serracino.
All lectures will be held in person unless otherwise indicated.

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Towards an Archaeology of Privacy

17 April @ 6:00 PM

Lecture by Professor Joseph Cannataci – Head of the Department of Information Policy & Governance, University of Malta.

Towards an Archaeology of Privacy.

A decade ago (2013), Smith and Reynolds lamented that “the archaeology of law, legal culture, and legal practice has been almost entirely overlooked”. Yet,  more than three decades ago, teams led from the University of Malta, and later jointly with the University of Groningen, commenced fieldwork on one of the values protected in fundamental human rights law: privacy. This in turn led to the formulation of research questions like: What were attitudes to privacy like across the Phoenician and Carthaginian trade routes? Did they change (where, when, how and why) as the Mediterranean transitioned into first the Greek and later the Roman classical eras? What may have changed in privacy-relevant behaviour and regulation on the northern and southern sides of the Mediterranean between the 5th and 15th centuries? What about the interplay between archaeology, architecture, anthropology, economics, technology and privacy? How have these dimensions impacted the evolution of privacy since the 16th century? How does research on the ethnoarchaeology and anthropology of privacy in Africa, America and Asia complement, contradict or corroborate the available evidence from inside Europe?

This talk explores the themes outlined above with particular reference to the importance of archaeological evidence from the first millennia B.C.E. and A.C.E. as found within the Mediterranean littoral. First outlining some context provided by our teams’ fieldwork in Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe, the talk will then move to the archaeological evidence available from domestic architecture in Punic sites, especially Kerkouane in modern-day Tunisia. Drawing upon initial findings from the PRIVATUS project and using some of the most recently published research from peninsular Italy to carry out comparative analysis in North African Roman sites, the talk will summarily trace the development of public and private spaces in Roman urban architecture with a particular emphasis on sanitation engineering, whilst also touching upon the role of the cubiculum as a private space in the Roman domus.





17 April
6:00 PM


The Archaeological Society Malta
View Organizer Website


Hotel Excelsior
Floriana, Malta + Google Map