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‘The Lararium Project’ 

Butser Ancient Farm (2023)

Chalton Lane, Chalton, Waterlooville, Hampshire, PO8 0BG

Permanent Exhibit: 01.06.23 - ongoing

About The Lararium Project


‘The Lararium Project’ is a recent research project undertaken in 2023, which can be visited at Butser Ancient Farm, a museum of experimental archaeology in Hampshire. The project saw the design and installation of a new lararium (a shrine to the household gods) for Butser’s Roman Villa. Simultaneously a working construct of the past and a reimagined household shrine for the present, the goddess Ceres replaces the Genius (the male head of the house) in dedication to the female deity of the harvest in reference to the farming role of Butser as a haven for wildlife, rare breed animals and endangered crops. The lararium is richly painted and constructed to replicate a miniature temple simulating an interface between the divine, the spirit world, familial ancestors, place and householders through the symbolic imagery and traditions of veneration. Images of snakes adorn the surfaces since they were seen as protective spirits of the house during Roman times and closely associated with household shrines.


The lararium opened during Chichester Roman Week when the Butser IX Roman Legion were in residence at the museum re-enacting living history to demonstrate what life would have been like in Roman Britain. As a permanent fixture of Butser Ancient Farm’s Roman Villa the lararium continues to be used for education and re-enactments gaining further insight into religious practices and associated rituals, and to explore the cultural dynamics of the Roman home.

Lararium Install.jpg
Lararium 21 May 2023.jpg
Blue Orange Snake.jpg
Central painting Lararium.jpg
Silver Snake lararium.jpg
Green Snake.jpg
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