Staff profiles

Photo of Dr Christopher Siwicki

Dr Christopher Siwicki

Honorary Research Fellow

The unifying aim of my research is to better understand how ideas and meanings become invested in structures, and how people living in antiquity viewed their built environments. My research currently has four distinct but closely related strands: perceptions of architecture and architects in antiquity; the investment of cultural identity in buildings; conflicts over public space in cities; and attitudes to material heritage in the past. Linking these topics is the theme of architecture as a cultural phenomenon. This moves away from traditional approaches that focus on technical matters of construction, to pursue new lines of inquiry about the place and value of architecture in society – I am interested in not just how structures were built, but what people outside of the construction process thought about those buildings. I adopt an interdisciplinary approach to investigating these questions, combining the study of ancient literature and material culture.  Embracing engagement with other academic fields has also led to rewarding collaborations with those working in architecture and heritage studies.

The revised manuscript of my monograph Roma Resvrges: Architectural Restoration and Built Heritage in Roman Society has now been submited (August 2017).  It examines how historic buildings were treated in ancient Rome and the attitudes that lay behind this. It is a study of the concept of built heritage in ancient thought, presenting new ways of understanding how historical associations were invested in buildings in antiquity, and challenging ideas that heritage is a purely modern phenomenon. 

Fieldwork

2015 Excavation Supervisor - Pompeii, Italy

For details: http://www.bsr.ac.uk/research/archaeology/ongoing-projects/pompeii-project-porta-nola-necropolis

2013 - 2014 Archaeologist - Segni, Italy

For details: http://www.bsr.ac.uk/research/archaeology/ongoing-projects/segni-project

2008 Archaeologist - Bagni di Tivoli, Italy

For details: http://www.bsr.ac.uk/research/archaeology/geophysics-2/projects/bagni-di-tivoli-lazio

Biography

Originally from Ely, I did my BA and MA at the University of Exeter (2003-07). I then moved to Italy and held the position of the Director's Research Assistant at the British School at Rome (2009-11). Following this I taught architectural history at the University of Lincoln (2009-11), before returning to Exeter to undertake my PhD (2011-15).