Jennifer Trimble. “The Zoninus collar and the archaeology of Roman slavery.” American Journal of Archaeology 120.3 (July 2016) 447–472.
This article analyzes slave collars of the fourth and fifth centuries C.E. as a way of contributing to current debates about the archaeology of Roman slavery. Taking as my case study the well-preserved Zoninus collar, I first trace its history in antiquarian collecting and publishing in the mid-18th c. This scholarship was characterized by a profound split between text and object that has had lasting effects on the material we have now and how we approach it. In the second half the paper, I propose a two-part remedy: reintegrating the collars’ visual, material and textual aspects, and exploring the very different perspectives of slave owners, audiences, and collared slaves. Approached in this way, these objects illuminate the lived experience of urban slavery; they also show how deeply slavery was woven into Roman visual, epigraphic and material culture. These artifacts thus have implications for drawing material culture more fully into the study of slavery and slavery more fully into the study of material culture.