Students – The Kelsey Blog


Notes from the Field—Tharros Archaeological Project

By Bailey Franzoi, IPAMAA

Bailey Franzoi, a young woman with dark brown hair wearing a Brown University T-shirt, smiles widely while holding her arms out as she sits at a table covered in bone fragments sorted into piles.
A bone bonanza! Bailey with faunal finds from the Tharros Archaeological Project.

I spent the month of June in Sardinia, Italy, at the Tharros Archaeological Project run by the University of Cincinnati. Tharros was a Punic and Roman city inhabited from the 8th century BCE to the 4th century CE.

I spent most of my time at Tharros in our finds lab in the nearby town of Cabras. I was responsible for washing, processing, and recording all of the project’s faunal material for the first time since it began in 2019. Our goal for the season was to begin to understand some of the patterns of animal use visible in the excavated material and to identify which contexts were worth coming back to for a closer look in later years. 

This year, the field team excavated an 18-meter trench within a Roman house from the 3rd century CE, as well as two trenches in the temple area of Tharros. I enjoyed working with colleagues from Cincinnati, Stanford University, and Brown University. Finding equid and deer bones in areas all over Tharros was very exciting, but my favorite finds were hedgehog mandibles.

I could not have accomplished any of the work I’ve done at Tharros or elsewhere without the support of the Kelsey Museum and, in particular, Dr. Richard Redding, whom I miss very much.

Summer Interns at the Kelsey

Hello, Kelsey Blog readers! Please join us in welcoming Taylor Tyrell and Lily Zamora to the Kelsey Museum. These students have joined us for the summer of 2023 and will be working on a variety of tasks to support the projects and operations of the Education and Administrative Departments.

Headshot of Taylor Tyrell, a young woman with curly brown hair wearing a purple blazer.

Taylor Tyrell (she/her) completed the Bridge MA Program in Classical Studies in 2021 and recently finished her second year as a doctoral student in the Interdepartmental Program in Ancient History. Her academic interests focus on gender and sexuality in the Roman Empire as well as reception studies, particularly queer reception of antiquity. She is also interested in the digital humanities—an interest that was sparked by an opportunity she had as an undergraduate to help create a virtual reality site of the Asklepion at Epidaurus, Greece.  

This summer, Taylor will assist the Education Department with its DiSKO (Digital Study of Kelsey Objects) project, which intends to make Kelsey artifacts available online in an effort to increase their accessibility to professors and students. To that end, she will help create 2-D and 3-D imaging of objects using photogrammetry and lidar, edit and prepare completed scans, conduct research for the information that will accompany each object, and develop lesson plans with which professors can teach using groupings of objects. She hopes that, by the end of summer, she will be close to having an initial assemblage of items ready to be published online in the fall.  

When asked what she most looks forward to working on this summer, Taylor noted that she was excited to use the Kelsey Museum’s new lidar scanner (previously, the Education Department had been using an application on an iPad to conduct this scanning). “It is incredible how affordable that technology can be,” Taylor commented. “I think that the Kelsey will be able to get a lot of use out of it outside of this project.”

Lily Zamora (she/her) will work as an intern in the Administrative Department over the summer and beyond. As the administrative assistant, she will focus on various admin-related projects such as supporting and revamping the Kelsey social media pages, event planning, file management, and other tasks as needed to assist the work of the chief administrator and other staff members at the museum.

An undergraduate studying media and communications, Lily recently transferred to the University of Michigan from Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU). Previously, she served as the marketing and communications assistant at U-M’s Center for Cell Plasticity and Organ Design, as well as the student grant assistant in the Center for Rural Behavioral Health and Addiction Studies at SVSU. 

Lily enjoys engaging in technical writing with the goals of improving user experience and making information understandable for all. She is also interested in designing elements such as newsletters, flyers, and social media posts. In her administrative position at the Kelsey, Lily hopes to improve her skills relating to editing, social media coordination, and information design. She is very excited to help show off everything the Kelsey has to offer!

Lily Zamora, a young woman with brown hair wearing a windbreaker, against a background of water, mountains, and a city.

Congratulations, IPCAA Students!

The semester here at U-M has come to a close, and that means that our resident IPCAA students will soon be drifting away to do their summer research. These guys have been super busy this past year, and we have a whole slew of amazing updates to tell you about.

Caitlin Clerkin successfully defended her dissertation, “Seleucia-on-the-Tigris, Revisited.” Caitlin is currently in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as the Frederick Randolph Grace Curatorial Fellow in Ancient Art at the Harvard Art Museums. She’s working on a range of curatorial activities, including object-based research, exhibitions, and gallery/object teaching with the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and ancient Middle Eastern collections.  

Christina Difabio also successfully defended her dissertation, “Synoikism, Sympolity, and Urbanization: A Regional Approach in Hellenistic Anatolia.” She’s currently at Koç University, Istanbul, finishing her fellowship at the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED). 

Leah Bernardo-Ciddio: has been awarded a Graduate Student Fellowship at U-M’s Institute for the Humanities to support her work next year. Leah’s research addresses material traces of trans-Adriatic interactions between human, cultural, and object mobility in the Iron Age (early first millennium BCE).

Amelia Eichengreen has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in Italy. Amelia will use the fellowship to research her dissertation on Archaic domestic architecture in central Italy under the sponsorship of General Director Massimo Osanna (Ministry of Culture in Italy and University of Naples Federico II) and Prof. Paolo Brocato (University of Calabria).

Joey Frankl has been awarded a fellowship for the American School of Classical Studies in Athens Regular Member Program. The program is an immersive academic experience that includes residency in Athens for an academic year together with a small cohort of graduate students in Classical studies. The year will include visits to sites and museums across Greece, as well as coursework and independent research. Joey is hoping to use part of the year to make progress writing his dissertation, while also having an opportunity to gain a broader and deeper understanding of Greece’s archaeology.

Laurel Fricker has been awarded a White Fellowship from the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Machal Gradoz has received a U-M Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship to work on her dissertation, which examines local reactions to Roman hegemony in northwest Greece/ southwest Albania in the late-Hellenistic–early Roman period (ca. 150 BCE–150 CE). In June, Machal will be working as field director for the Brač Island Project (BIP) in Croatia. She will then head to Albania and Greece to finish up data collection for her dissertation.

Alex Moskowitz has been awarded an Olivia James Traveling Fellowship from the Archaeological Institute of America.

Theo Nash received a Vermeule Fellowship from the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Caroline Nemechek will be working as a volunteer intern at the MFA Boston with the department for the Art of Ancient Greece and Rome this summer, as part of her graduate certificate program in Museum Studies. She will be working in the recently re-opened galleries, updating the database to reflect the results of new research, and giving talks and tours based on the new presentation of the material in these galleries.

We are so proud of all of our amazing IPCAA students. We wish them all the best this summer, wherever their research takes them.

Welcome, 2021–2022 IPCAA students!

The fall semester is in full swing here at U-M. Now that we’ve all hit our stride, let’s meet the incoming cohort of IPCAA students.

Lauren Alberti

Lauren Alberti graduated magna cum laude with her BA in anthropology and classical studies at the University of New Mexico. She received an MA in classics with an emphasis in classical archaeology and a certificate in geographic information science at the University of Arizona. While in this program, she investigated the exclusivity of the Mycenaean state-sponsored feast by analyzing the built environment of potential feasting locales. Lauren also received an MA in comparative literature and cultural studies at the University of New Mexico. For this thesis, she explored Greek sympotic drinking behavior contextualized within the concept of the metron. Lauren has participated in archaeological projects in Greece, Italy, Ireland, and the American Southwest. She is also a collaborator for the WebAtlas of Ceramic Kilns in Ancient Greece. Her research interests include the sociopolitical implications of communal drinking events, sympotic poetry (particularly archaic Greek), identity construction and manipulation, and GIS.

Caroline Everts

Caroline Everts received her BA at Union College, New York, in 2019, with a double major in classics and anthropology. Graduating with honors, her undergraduate thesis examined the connections between burial practices and social identity in early Iron Age Greece as evinced through grave goods. During the spring of 2018, she studied at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome. In 2021, Caroline earned her MA in classical art and archaeology from the University of Colorado Boulder. She has excavated the children’s cemetery on Astypalaia, as well as completed fieldwork in Italy at Aeclanum and worked with pottery from the Suburban Baths at Pompeii. Caroline’s research interests include the use of spatial and visual narratives, their connections to social identity, and their relationship within structures, particularly as shown through domestic architecture in the provinces.

Abigail Staub

Abigail Staub earned her BA in archaeology and art history with a Latin minor from the University of Virginia in 2020. During her time at UVA, she conducted a multi-year, independent research project focused on cult spaces across Pompeian industries that resulted in the creation of a comprehensive database of shrine niches and religious paintings in Pompeian commercial spaces. This ultimately culminated in a distinguished major thesis, for which she earned high honors. During her time in Charlottesville, she also worked as an education intern at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Australian Art Collection and was employed as a museum assistant and docent at the Fralin Museum of Art. After the completion of her BA, she earned a post-baccalaureate certificate in classical studies from the College of William & Mary (2021). Abigail has completed a research assistantship in Pompeii (2018) and has excavated with the University of Michigan’s Gabii Project as a field school participant (2019). Her research interests include liminal identities in the Roman world (such as laborers, enslaved peoples, the elderly, and women), personal religion, and the materiality of domestic space. She is also passionate about museum pedagogy and accessibility of information to those outside the field of classics.


A hearty welcome to you all! We’re looking forward to getting to know you better and following your academic progress here at Michigan.

Nadhira Hill Receives Public Scholarship Award from the Women’s Classical Caucus

IPCAA student Nadhira Hill has received the Public Scholarship Award from the Women’s Classical Caucus ( for her blog, Notes from the Apotheke. The citation reads as follows:

“In the few months since Nadhira Hill started her blog, Notes from the Apotheke, she has curated invaluable resources for BIPOC in Classics, ancient history, and archaeology. Her blog posts bring people of all backgrounds together by providing professional development advice in an accessible way, by engaging in dialogues on the state of the field, and by highlighting BIPOC scholars in ancient studies from different backgrounds and career stages.”

Congratulations, Nadhira!

IPCAA Alum Diana Ng to Speak at the Humanities Institute

Tomorrow at 12:30 pm, IPCAA alum Diana Y. Ng will speak on the topic of “The Roman-period Theater as Cognitive Microecology: Setting, Seating, and Costume.” This FellowSpeak talk examines the Roman-period theater as a cognitive ecology, one that supported and engaged different modes of thinking and learning by its occupants during nondramatic, civic and political gatherings.

Diana received her BA in classics and fine arts from New York University and her PhD in classical art and archaeology from the IPCAA program at the University of Michigan. She remains a frequent collaborator with the Kelsey Museum, and we encourage you to go see her speak tomorrow. Find all the details here.

Don’t miss the deadline to enter the 2018–2019 Jackier Prize Competition!

The deadline to enter the 2018–2019 Jackier Prize Competition is fast approaching!

Are you a U-M undergraduate interested in archaeology, ancient history, or museum studies? Do you fancy a little extra pocket money? If you answered “yes” to both these questions, consider entering the Jackier Prize Essay Competition!

What is the Jackier Prize Competition?

Every object has a story to tell about the people who made it and those who used it or gave it value. The Jackier Prize Competition provides an opportunity for U-M undergraduates to explore and discover the stories behind the objects at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. The competition is open to any undergraduate from any discipline at U-M. The essays that best demonstrate excellence in archaeological research will be awarded a cash prize, made possible by the generous donation of U-M alumnus Lawrence Jackier and his wife Eleanor.

How can I enter the contest?

Submit a five- to ten-page essay that examines an object or objects in the Kelsey Museum. This can be a paper you have already written for a class or one written specifically for this contest. You may choose an object on display or one from collections storage. The subject matter of the essay may vary, but the essay needs to reflect careful research.

Submissions are due by 8 a.m., Monday, January 28th. Up to five winners will announced in mid-February 2019.

The Jackier Prize will be presented to the winners at a ceremony in early April 2019. Each winner will also receive a collection of Kelsey Museum publications and will have the opportunity to participate in the creation of a museum exhibit featuring the objects written about in the winning essays.

Ready to submit your essay?

Submit your essay via email to Jackier.Prize2019@umich.eduOn the first page of the essay, please provide the title of the essay, a picture(s) of the object(s) discussed in the essay, and your name and email address. You will receive an email within 48 hours confirming that the essay was successfully submitted.

Need more information? Get the full submission details here.

Good Luck!!

International Kurru Archaeological Project — Fieldwork Friday #3

Life in the Field, North Sudan

Street scene in Kurru, Sudan.
The main street in Kurru in the early morning hours before work. Waleed’s shop, where we buy snacks and supplies but most importantly bottled water, is on the left less than 100 meters from our front door, and the barber shop, painted green, is right across the street!

14 December 2018

By Gregory Tucker

The past week has been incredibly busy as we try to prepare the site for the final days of data collection before I leave for Khartoum next Thursday. In next week’s post I will share some of the initial results of all of our hard work here, but this week I will focus on what my life is like in Sudan outside of work.

The International Kurru Archaeological Project stays in the village of El Kurru, near the ancient site, and we are kindly hosted by Sadiq Mohamed Saleh and his family. This month I have been staying in Kurru rather than closer to Jebel Barkal, as it is only a 15–20 minute car ride to the site. It is also where all of my friends from past field seasons live, and where I feel welcomed as a part of the community.

two stucco walls, one painted pink
The front entrance to Sadeq’s house, before (top, 2017) and after (below, 2018) its new paint job!

sparse interior with small bed
My bed (taken the first week of the project — I assure you it is nowhere near this tidy anymore) with equipment charging and my personal effects in the corner.

Part of the feeling of community comes from the fact that our meals are all communal. We share large dishes and eat with our hands, and the meals are always accompanied by bread. The main course is often fuul, a dish made of mashed beans with cheese or sardines or tomatoes or just about anything added to spice it up. We also often eat chicken, liver, a fish paste called fasikh, salad, and much more, and on special days we have fried fish! Last week, while staying the night in Karima, I even had pizza here for the first time, which I can highly recommend to the rest of the team coming next month!

dishes of food
Left: A typical fattur, with fuul, fasikh, tamia, eggs, and a few vegetables, to be shared between four to six people. Right: A special fish lunch.

Pizza making in progress (left), and our delicious dinner (right).

In past seasons after work I have played soccer with my friends here, in the shadow of the Kurru pyramids, but this year I have had to rest my legs and often opt to either watch the others play in the sunset or cool my feet in the Nile, which is only a five-minute walk from Sadiq’s.

boys playing soccer on a dirt field
The guys playing soccer at Kurru. The pyramid is just behind me as I take this photo.

bare feet in a river
Cooling my feet in the Nile.

In past seasons we have even gone to see the Kurru soccer team play a few official matches, including big games against local rivals in the stadium at Karima. I’m in the field a bit earlier this year so the soccer season hasn’t started yet, but the first match is on Tuesday in Karima, and  I’m looking forward to cheering on my friends from the stands after work!

soccer field with stands
A view from the stands at a soccer match in Karima (2017).

This year I’ve felt even more closely connected with life in the village, attending a few wedding celebrations and just last night an engagement party for Salah Mohamed, one of the guys who works with me at Jebel Barkal. We danced for hours (myself only sparingly) to traditional tambour music, and it seemed as if the whole village came to celebrate with Salah!

In addition to all these larger events, I spend many of my evenings with friends talking under the stars or watching Champions League or EPL soccer while drinking tea, which is ubiquitous here. This season I’ve even picked up a new game to play, Ludo, which is kind of like Trouble and brings out an intensely competitive nature among us! It might be worth checking out the next time you’re looking for an easy game to play with a few friends!

I have less than a week left for in the field, and it is going to go by far too quickly. Check back here next week for a final #fieldworkfriday update from Sudan for 2018!

View of pyramids in desert.

International Kurru Archaeological Project — Fieldwork Friday #2

Magnetic Gradiometry at Jebel Barkal

Man walking in desert with scientific equipment, pyramids in background
Collecting magnetic data on our first day of survey at Jebel Barkal. Photo by Abdelbaki Salahadin Mohamend.

7 December 2018

By Gregory Tucker

This week for #fieldworkfriday I would like to share with you a bit of where I am and what I’m doing in the field. This month I’ve come to Sudan’s Northern State, to the site of Jebel Barkal, near the Fourth Cataract of the Nile, to conduct a geophysical survey in two distinct areas of the site.

Map of Sudan.
Map of Sudan showing the location of Jebel Barkal.

Jebel Barkal is a small mountain not far from the Nile that was considered by the Egyptians and later the Kushites to be the home of the god Amun. Various temples, palaces, and pyramids were constructed at the site from the Egyptian New Kingdom (about 1500 BCE) to the end of the empire of Kush (about 300 CE), and these have been the targets of extensive excavation in modern times. Jebel Barkal and the nearby sites of El Kurru, Sanam, and Zuma are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

photo of wall of Egyptian temple.
This image, which I took just yesterday, shows the amazing conservation work of the Italian-Sudanese team at the Mut Temple at Jebel Barkal. The image on the left has been cleaned and clearly shows Taharqa, while the image on the neighboring wall on the right is still covered in soot.

White vans at base of mountain.
It’s tourism season in Sudan, as evidenced by the many vehicles bringing tourists to visit the site every day. Seeing this many together is rare, however, even this time of year!

Geophysical survey is one of the most efficient ways to explore a large landscape like that of Jebel Barkal in search of specific features that will help us understand how people lived in the past. The results of this month of survey will help our projects better understand and interpret the built environment of the site, shedding light on how the community at Jebel Barkal lived and how it relates to other sites and their architectural traditions from the region.

This past week we finished up our work for the first project, on the south side of the mountain, where we were working in the desert landscape near the pyramids at the site.  We were invited to survey this area by Murtada Bushara Mohamed of Sudan’s National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM) as part of the Qatari Mission for the Pyramids of Sudan (QMPS) project. This project is focused on research, preservation, and presentation of the pyramids at Jebel Barkal, Kurru, Meroe, and Nuri and our contribution will help us better understand the landscape context of these monuments by identifying the location of other structures in this region of Jebel Barkal.

View of pyramids in desert.
The pyramids on the southern side of Jebel Barkal.

Tomorrow we will begin our work on the east side of the jebel, between the mountain and the Nile River, in an area we call the “East Mound.”  This project is an offshoot of Geoff Emberling’s research at El Kurru and the surrounding region, and during preliminary research conducted in 2016 we identified this mound as being a likely location for the settlement associated with the temples and palaces of the monumental core of the site.[1]  We were able to identify buried structures here during a very short period of survey that year, just a couple of days, so we have returned to survey the entire mound and the surrounding area to better define the extent of this settlement.

scientific equipment at base of rock outcrop in desert.
View toward Jebel Barkal from the “East Mound” as we begin to set up our equipment for the survey work in this area.

The type of prospection that I’m conducting can be done with many different instruments, each with its own unique method of collecting magnetic data. In the case of this project I am using a device that must be carried across the landscape and takes readings at consistent intervals.

The most efficient way to use this device is to set up a grid in the area that we wish to cover. Using a total station we establish a 30 x 30 m grid, and within that grid we lay down guidelines that are marked at every meter. Then, wearing the scientific device, I walk up and down along the guidelines, which are there to ensure that I walk straight and at a consistent pace.

By telling the instrument and the processing software the parameters of the survey, the data can be plotted quite quickly to create a map of the magnetic readings at the surface, giving us insight into what may lie buried below. With this particular machine we are limited only by how fast I can walk while maintaining a consistent pace and holding the machine relatively steady, which depends on the surface conditions — sand slows me down quite a lot! — and how well we have established the grid and the guidelines. Below is a short video that gives a first-person perspective of what walking one of these lines is like. (In a typical day I can walk approximately 540 lines!)

Of course, there is slightly more to it than just that, but the bulk of my time here is spent walking along these lines and listening to the machine chirp at me, 30 meters at a time.

I realize that I did not check the comments on my last post to see if there were any questions, but I will be better about that this week, so please comment with any questions you may have or email me at I would love to hear from you! And please check in next week for another update from Sudan!

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[1] This research was undertaken thanks to a Waitt Grant from the National Geographic Society for my project: “Defining Settlement in the Nile Valley: Geophysical Prospection in the Region of Jebel Barkal, Ancient Napata.” For more about the results of this work, see Tucker and Emberling, “Settlement in the Heartland of Napatan Kush: Preliminary Results of Magnetic Gradiometry at El-Kurru, Sanam, and Jebel Barkal,” Sudan & Nubia 20 (2016): 16–22.

The New Faces of IPCAA — 2018 edition

There are four new faces in the corridors of Newberry Hall these days. These are the incoming grad students, hailing from places as far away as New Zealand. Since they’re likely to be our friends and colleagues for quite some time, we thought we’d dive right in and get to know them a little better.

Between orientation, classes, homework, and extracurricular activities, as well as the million other things new students deal with when they arrive at U-M, they’ve hardly had time to breathe, but they have very kindly taken a few moments to answer the pesky questions of a curious editor.

So, without further ado, let us introduce Theo Nash and Alex Moskowitz.

Man standing on large rock.A lifelong fascination with ancient ruins led Theo Nash to study Classics, earning First Class Honours for his Bachelor’s degree and a Master of Arts with Distinction at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. His research so far has been focussed on the Mycenaeans and their broader contexts, starting with his Honours thesis where he explored the creation of identity during the early Mycenaean period. In his MA he argued that the Mycenaean presence at Knossos during Late Minoan II was a precipitating factor in the emergence of palatial culture on the mainland, with a special focus on the contemporary development of Linear B and the contexts in which new scripts are created. He hopes to ask further questions of how scripts develop and spread, both at the palaeographic level and in their broader societal contexts. His other interests include the development of early Greek hexameter poetry and Attic vase painting.

How did you get interested in studying the ancient world?
Living in Germany as a child, I became fascinated with ruins; the rest is history (or, perhaps, archaeology).

What is your favorite thing about studying the ancient world?
That there were people, just like us, who lived what is really an incomprehensibly long time ago. Seeing traces of their life, like a thumbprint impressed on a vase before it was fired, bridges that gap with an immediacy and force that I find incredible.

What is something you think everyone should know about the ancient world?
There seems to be impression among a lot of the people outside academia that Classics is somehow a “solved” field — that because it’s been studied for so long there’s nothing meaningful left to say. But that’s not the case at all. Not only are we frequently making new discoveries, but we continuously find new and better questions to ask of the existing evidence. Far from being antiquated and fusty, it’s an incredibly dynamic and engaging discipline.

What are your career aspirations?
I hope to find myself in a position where I can continue to think about and engage with the Classical world and its relics, whatever that might look like in practical terms.

Who’s your favorite person from history?
The written records of the Mycenaean Greeks unfortunately yield very few personal narratives, but we do know from Hittite records about one Mycenaean named Attarissiya, a military adventurer in what is now Turkey. He appears to have had a personal vendetta against a local potentate, Madduwatta, whom he twice tried to kill for reasons quite unclear. When not distracted by such personal matters, he enjoyed raiding Cyprus. Not the most pleasant fellow, perhaps, but his fragmented CV is a poignant reminder not just of the narratives but also the personalities lost to the ages.

 * * * * *

Man in blue shirt among ancient ruins.Alex Moskowitz earned a BA in Ancient History with High Honors from Swarthmore College in 2015. His research there focused on modeling processes of cultural contact at the Greek site of Sybaris. In 2017, Alex received his MA in Classical Languages (Greek and Latin emphases) at the University of Georgia. His master’s thesis considered Herodotus’s Histories and focused on the role of colonial narratives in blurring distinctions between Greek and non-Greek identities. Alex has also participated in the Azoria Project in Crete and the Western Argolid Regional Project. Since 2016, he has excavated at Morgantina with the Contrada Agnese Project, most recently serving as an assistant supervisor. Alex’s research investigates economic exchange, migration, and transitions in cultural identity at the periphery of the Iron Age Greek world.

How did you get interested in studying the ancient world?
My interests in the ancient world started when I was a child! I stumbled upon some “Asterix” comics in my cousin’s basement and fell in love with the stories. I spent many hours flipping through the pages and reading about the adventures of this tiny Gaul having adventures in the ancient Mediterranean. While an undergraduate, taking ancient Greek and participating in my first field project in Crete revived those interests from a more academic perspective.

What is your favorite thing about studying the ancient world?
It’s the challenges associated with studying the ancient world that excite me most. Reconstructing an image of what daily life or cultural identity was like over 2,000 years ago with limited evidence is no simple task! But developing new methods to understand that evidence and perceiving patterns that may have been overlooked can be very rewarding.

What is something you think everyone should know about the ancient world?
Something I’ve always thought people should know about both ancient Greece and Rome is that both cultures were, by modern standards, really weird! They were obsessed with auguries, and oracles, and sacrifices. They believed in all sorts of magics and had some really peculiar theories for how human bodies work. We like to think of the Greeks especially as these incredibly wise people, but the reality is much stranger. They made some incredible insights in a lot of disciplines, but their world view was so different from our own and it is easy to forget that.

What are your career aspirations?
After I get my PhD, I would love to continue as an academic. In particular, I would like to find a position at a liberal arts college where I could really focus on teaching in a small-classroom setting.

Who’s your favorite person from history?
From ancient history, specifically, my favorite person is probably Herodotus. He is generally considered to be the founder of “history” as a discipline and I am constantly fascinated by the way he perceives connections and differences between different cultures. His book is a wonderful combination of history, ethnography, and pure fairy tale that is a joy to read not only for its many insights into the ancient world but also because it is remarkably entertaining when you give it a chance.

Thank you, Theo and Alex! Welcome to U-M!

We’ll meet the other two IPCAA newcomers, Lauren Oberlin and James Prosser, in a later blog post.

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