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Student Guide

David Walsh on 'supposed churches'

By Allie Burnett | 18th Jan 2019

Dr David Walsh, Lecturer in the Department of Classical & Archaeological studies, has just published a new article in the 'Journal of Late Antiquity', in which he argues that the remains of one of the supposedly oldest churches in Britain was actually a temple to Mithras.

In recent decades, archaeologists in regions such as Germany, Italy, and France have developed an increasingly robust approach to the identification of early churches and thus dismissed a number of formerly misidentified examples in the process. In Britain, however, various supposed ‘churches’ discovered in the twentieth century continue to be referred to as such despite a lack of strong evidence to substantiate this. One such example is a structure found at Butt Road, Colchester. In this article, the issues surrounding the interpretation of this building as a church are revisited and enhanced, while it is illustrated why other interpretations, such as a ‘pagan funerary banqueting hall’, are also unlikely.

David has also just released a new episode of his podcast available now to stream via iTunes and Spotify.

David's guest this week is SECL graduate Becky Newson, who graduated in 2009 with a BA in Classical & Archaeological Studies and Drama. Becky joins David to discuss her six years working as a tour guide in Rome, how she ended up in this role, how she preps for tours, and her advice for anyone visiting Rome. She also chats about getting used to the Roman way of life (and adjusting when she visits home), #Rome on Instagram, and how the extras on the DVD of The Mummy led her to study Ancient History at Kent!

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