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Professor Barbara Borg

Professor

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Professor Barbara Borg

My field of teaching and research is Classical Archaeology, that is, the study of art and archaeology of the Greeks and Romans.

I contribute to the understanding of the so-called Classical civilisations and their spheres of influence by focussing on visual and material culture as a source of information, thus supplementing the predominantly text-based disciplines of Ancient History and Classics. Material sources provide insights into aspects of life, and members of society, that are not covered by texts, or treated by their authors in a very biased way. My teaching aims at providing the skills and techniques necessary to exploit these sources for anthropological and social history, and covers a broad range of subjects from archaic Greece to the later Roman Empire.

My research is characterised by an interdisciplinary and contextual approach, and focuses on four major fields: (1) The ideologies and value systems of the Romans as they are expressed through images (especially portraiture and funerary art), architecture, and epigraphy; (2) The language and 'rhetoric' of Greek and Roman images and the relationship between image and text; (3) Inter-cultural relationships, in particular the multi-cultural society of Roman Egypt; (4) Geo-archaeology, in particular the study of the provenance of marble, which also contributes to an understanding of ancient economies.

My most recent project, generously funded by a three-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, breaks new ground by using a novel approach to the social history of Rome: a micro-history of an area roughly covering four square miles along the first part of the via Appia (1st c. BC to 4th c. AD).

A book on tombs and burial customs of the second century CE is based on my 2015 Carl Newell Jackson Lectures at Harvard and currently in print with CUP: Roman tombs and the art of commemoration: contextual approaches to funerary customs in the second century CE.

I have been the recipient of several funded visiting fellowships: Spring Getty Scholar at the Getty Research Institute, Malibu CA; Senior Onassis Fellow at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; and Hugh Last Fellow, British School at Rome. I am a member of an International Network for the Study of Late Antiquity, of the Leibniz Group on ‘Nachleben der Antike’, and of several editorial boards including the Journal of Roman Studies, and Chair of Publications of the British School at Rome. I am also member of the Society of Antiquaries of London, Representative for Archaeology on Section Committee of Classics and Oriental Studies, Academia Europea, and member of the Advisory Council of the Institute of Classical Studies.

Research interests

My research is characterised by an interdisciplinary and contextual approach, and focuses on four major fields: (1) The ideologies and value systems of the Romans as they are expressed through images (especially portraiture and funerary art), architecture, and epigraphy; (2) The language and 'rhetoric' of Greek and Roman images and the relationship between image and text; (3) Inter-cultural relationships, in particular the multi-cultural society of Roman Egypt; (4) Geo-archaeology, in particular the study of the provenance of marble, which also contributes to an understanding of ancient economies.

My most recent project, generously funded by a three-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, breaks new ground by using a novel approach to the social history of Rome: a micro-history of an area roughly covering four square miles along the first part of the via Appia (1st c. BC to 4th c. AD). By exploring the varied, closely interconnected, and changing uses of land in a key area of the Roman suburbium, it aims at a better understanding of the changing activities and interactions between different social, economic, ethnic, and religious groups, not only in this area but in Roman society more generally. A first monograph resulting from this project will cover the complex and changing relationship between early Christians and their non-Christian surroundings, challenging many firmly held assumptions that are based on ecclesiastical writings.

A book on tombs and burial customs of the second century CE is based on my 2015 Carl Newell Jackson Lectures at Harvard and currently in print with CUP: Roman tombs and the art of commemoration: contextual approaches to funerary customs in the second century CE. The history of funerary customs in Rome contains many unanswered questions and controversial debates, especially concerning the significant developments of the second century CE. Over four chapters, I employ the full range of material and written evidence to explore four key questions that change our view of Roman society and its values. For the first time, senatorial burial practices can be reconstructed and contrasted with those of other classes. I then proceed to explain the change from incineration to inhumation as a revival of old Roman mores that accelerated after the example set by Hadrian. In the third chapter, I argue that tombs became prime locations for promoting and displaying long family lines among the elite, which then inspired freedmen to undertake similar commemorative practices. Finally, I explore the association of deceased persons with the divine and apotheosis through portraits on divine body shapes and temple tombs.

Contribution to discipline

I am member of several associations and societies, editorial boards, and other advisory panels. I see this work as an interesting challenge, a great opportunity to contribute to the wider academic community, and an inspiration for my own work.

Member of the REF 2021 sub-panel 29 for Classics (previously Member of the REF 2014 sub-panel 31 for Classics)

Member of the AHRC Peer Review Panel (since 2017)

European Science Foundation College of Expert Reviewers (2017-2020)

Referee for European Research Council (appointed 2011, re-appointed 2014)

Reviewer of applications for membership, Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies (appointed yearly since 2010)

Reviewer for Schweizerischer Nationalfond, Fond National de la Recherche Luxembourg, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Einstein-Stiftung, Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, Research Foundation Flanders, AIAS-COFUND fellowships Aarhus

Faculty Member, the British School at Rome (2018-2020)

Representative for Archaeology on Section Committee of Classics and Oriental Studies, Academia Europea (since 2016)

Member Advisory Council, Institute of Classical Studies (since 2015)

Member, Combined Classics Library Collections Development Committee (since 2016)

Member, Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies

Fellow, Society of Antiquaries of London (elected 2015)

Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies (Roman Society): Member since 2007, Council Member 2007-11

Corresponding Member of the German Archaeological Institute (awarded 2004)

Member, Deutscher Archäologenverband

Editorial and Scientific advisory Boards

Chair of Publications, British School at Rome (2018-2020)

JRS                 Journal of Roman Studies (2012-2017, 2017-2022)

Millennium      Annual Journal and supplement series

GFA                 Göttinger Forum für Altertumswissenschaften

RomeScapes   Monograph series Edizioni Quazar

SAPERE          Scripta Antiquitatis Posterioris ad Ethicam REligionemque pertinentia. Schriften der

                        späteren Antike zu ethischen und religiösen Fragen.

Biography

Academic Degrees

1999               Habilitation and venia legendi for Classical Archaeology at Ruprecht-Karls-University,

                       Heidelberg, Germany

1990               PhD at Georg-August-University, Göttingen, Germany

Acedemic Postitions

2010-15 and since 2018    Head of Classics, University of Exeter

since 2004    Professor of Classical Archaeology, Universtiy of Exeter

1993-2004    Teaching and research positions, including acting Head of Department and Director of the

                     Collection of Antiquities, at the Archaeological Institute, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg