New Discoveries Seminar

Past Lectures

Thursday, December 14 @ 16:00 (MS TEAMS)

Why was the jund revolting? Tribal Affiliation and Political Opposition in Early Islamic Ifrīqiya

Dr. Antonia Bosanquet, Utrecht University


Recommended Readings:

  • Hugh Kennedy, “The Origins of the Aghlabids” in: Glaire D. Anderson et al (eds.), The Origins of the Aghlabids.  Brill: Leiden, 2017, pp. 33 -48. Aghlabids


Thursday, November 16 @ 16:00 (MS TEAMS)

Agency, Memory, and Communities of Experience in Late Antiquity: Jerome on his Childhood and Youth

Prof. dr. Ville Vuolanto, Tampere University


Recommended Readings:

  • Ville Vuolanto, “Experience, Agency, and the Children in the Past: The Case of Roman Childhood” (2017). Children
  • Ville Kivimäki, Antti Malinen and Ville Vuolanto, “Communities of Experience”, Digital Handbook of the History of Experience (2023). Communities of Experience


Thursday, June 15 @ 16:00 (Janskerkhof 15A)

How to Make Things Shine: Mercury and Long-Distance Networks in Post-Roman Western Europe

Dr. Irene Bavuso, Utrecht University


Recommended Readings:

  • Duggan, Maria, ‘Britain in the Atlantic: Late Antique Ceramics and Connections’, in Duggan, Maria, Jackson, Mark, and Turner, Sam (eds.), Ceramics and Atlantic Connections: Late Roman and Early Medieval Imported Pottery on the Atlantic Seabord. Proceedings of an International Symposium at Newcastle University, March 2014, 13–24, Oxford 2020. Duggan


Thursday, May 25 @ 16:00 (Drift 25, r. 102)

Mythical Women, Modern Novels: The wave of current rewritings from a female perspective.

Dr. Jacqueline Klooster, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Recommended readings:

  • Barbara Goff. ‘Do We Have a New Song Yet? The New Wave of Women’s Novels and the Homeric Tradition, ‘ Humanities  11.2, no. 49 (2022), pp. 49–49. Song
  • Lilian Doherty,  Gender and the Interpretation of Classical Myth. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2001, pp. 15-45. Chapter I


Thursday, May 11 @ 16:00 (@ MS Teams)

Routes of Exchange, Roots of Connectivity: the dynamics of ancient trade networks

Dr. Marike van Aerde, Universiteit Leiden

Recommended readings:

  • M. E. J. J., van Aerde & A. G. Khan, Carvings & Community: inclusive heritage solutions for protecting ancient Karakorum petroglyphs under threat, Journal of Archaeohistorical Studies 1.2 (2021), pp. 77-90. Carvings&Community


Thursday, March 23 @ 16:00 (Microsoft TEAMS)

Iunca- Borj Younga: New Investigations of a Coastal Site in the Syrtis Minor

Prof. Anna Leone, Durham University

Recommended readings:

  • Ammar Othman; Anne Leone; Patricia Voke; Maurizio Marinato; Maria Utrero Agudo; Nabil Belmabrouk, Management Plan For the Protection of the Site of Iunca – Impact Case Study: Issue I, Durham University / Institut National du Patrimoine, 2020. IUNCA


Thursday, February 16 @ 16:00 (ON LOCATION – Janskerkhof 15A, Room 004)

Horvat Ethri – A Jewish Village and its Public Building from the 1st-2nd Centuries CE in the Judean Shephelah 

Prof. Boaz Zissu, Bar-Ilan University

Recommended readings:

  • Zissu B, and Ganor A. “Horvat ‘Ethri – a Jewish Village from the Second Temple Period and the Bar Kokhba Revolt in the Judean Foothills.” Journal of Jewish Studies 60, no. 1 (2009): 90–136. Horvat Ethri


Thursday, January 19 @ 16:00 (Microsoft TEAMS)

On image-texts, ornaments, and ontologies: towards a holistic approach to funerary customs 

Prof. dr. Lidewijde de Jong, Universiteit Groningen

Recommended readings:

  • Crawford, C.D. 2014, “Relating Image and Word in Ancient Mesopotamia” in Critical approaches to ancient Near Eastern art, eds. B.A. Brown & M.H. Feldman, De Gruyter, Boston, pp. 241-264. Image and Word
  • de Jong, L. 2022, “De Doden Dichtbij: grafrituelen in het Romeinse Nabije Oosten”, Tijdschrift voor Mediterrane archeologie, vol. 67, pp. 53. Grafrituelen
  • Squire, M. 2018, “‘To haunt, to startle, and way-lay’: Approaching ornament and figure in Graeco-Roman art” in Ornament and figure in Graeco-Roman art : rethinking visual ontologies in classical antiquity, eds. N. Dietrich & M. Squire, De Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 1-35. Ornament and Figure


Thursday, December 8 @ 16:00 (Microsoft TEAMS)

Epigraphy, Machine Learning and Data: a case study on the Ithaca project. 

Dr. Thea Sommerschield, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

Recommended readings:


Thursday, November 3 @ 16:00 (Drift 21, r. 1.05)

The matter of Antiquity. How things created the ancient world

Prof. Miguel John Versluys, Leiden University

Recommended readings:

  • Pitts, M. & M.J. Versluys. 2021. ‘Objectscapes. A manifesto for investigating the impacts of object flows on past societies’, Antiquity. A review of world archaeology 95:380, pp. 367-381. Objectscapes
  • Fernández-Götz, M., D. Maschek, & N. Roymans. 2020. ‘The dark side of the Empire: Roman expansionism between object agency and predatory regime’,  Antiquity. A review of world archaeology 94: 378:, pp. 1630-1639, together with the reactions by A. Gardner, A. Jiménez, M.J. Versluys and L. Khatchadourian (pp. 1640-1652) as well as the reply by the authors (pp. 1653-1656). The Dark Side


Thursday, October 6 @ 16:00 (online, MS Teams)

Will, Self, and Difference: Ex-Jews and Conversion in Late Antiquity

Prof. Andrew Jacobs, Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University

  • Andrew Jacobs, ‘“Coloured by the Nature of Christianity”: Nock’s Invention of Religion and Ex-Jews in Late Antiquity’, in: Robert Matthew Calhoun, James A. Kelhoffer, and Clare K. Rothschild (eds.), Celebrating Arthur Darby Nock: Choice, Change, and Conversion (Tübingen, 2021), pp. 257 – 278. Celebrating Nock
  • Andrew Jacobs, ‘Interpreting conversion in antiquity (and beyond)’, Religion Compass (2021), pp. 1-9. Conversion
  • The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, tr. Frank Williams (Leiden, 2009), 3.1-13.5. Epiphanius


Thursday, September 29@ 15:00

The Limits of Freedom: self-sale, indentured labour and debt bondage in the late antique and early Islamic Middle East

Prof. Robert Hoyland, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University

  • Arietta Papaconstantinou, “Credit, Debt and Dependence in Early Islamic Egypt”, in: J.-L. Fournet & A. Papaconstantinou (eds.), Mélanges Jean Gascou: textes et études papyrologiques (Paris, 2016), pp. 213-262.Credit&Debt
  • Alice Rio, “Self-sale and Voluntary Entry into Unfreedom, 300–1100”, Journal of Social History vol. 45: 3 (2012), pp. 661–685. Self-sale
  • Petra Sijpesteijn, “Shaving Hair and Beards in Early Islamic Egypt: An Arab Innovation?”, Al-Masāq, 30:1 (2018), pp. 9-25, Sijpesteijn


Thursday, June 9 @ 16:00

Dead Men Tell No Tales: Erasing Bodies and People in the Later Roman Empire

Kay Boers MA, Utrecht University

  • “An Eye for an Eye. Religious Violence in Donatist Africa,” in: Michael Gaddis, The Is No Crime For Those Who Have Christ. Religious Violence in the Christian Roman Empire (University of California Press: Berkeley, 2005: 103-130.Eye
  • Richard Miles, “Textual Communities and the Donatist Controversy,” in: Richard Miles (ed.), The Donatist Schism: Controversy and Contexts (Liverpool UP, 2016):  249-283. Donatist


Thursday, May 19 @ 16:00

Digging up Democracy: The Story of the Fifth Century Public Wells and the Development of the Athenian Agora

Dr. Floris van den Eijnde, Utrecht University


Thursday, April 28 @ 16:00

The Making of Medieval Rome

Prof. Hendrik Dey, Hunter College

  • The Making of Medieval Rome : A New Profile of the City, 400-1450 (Cambridge: CUP, 2021), chapter 2.


Thursday, March 24 @ 16:00 

Participatory Heritage Approaches at Contested Sites of Conflict: Creating Space for Discussion

Prof. Suzie Thomas, University of Antwerp

  • Suzie Thomas, ” Doing Public Participatory Archaeology with “Difficult” Conflict Heritage: Experiences from Finnish Lapland and the Scottish Highlands,” European Journal of Postclassical Archaeologies 9 (2019).PCA_9_Thomas


Thursday, March 3 @ 16:00

Biblical Tales Retold and the Authority of the Scriptures

Prof. Erich S. Gruen, UC Berkeley


Thursday, February 10 @ 16:00

HistoGenes: Triangulating Early Medieval Populations in the Carpathian Basin through Genomic, Archaeological, and Historical Models

Prof. Patrick J. Geary, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton and PI HistoGenes

  • Walter Pohl, Johannes Krause, Tivadar Vida, and Patrick Geary, “Integrating Genetic, Archaeological, and Historical Perspectives on Eastern Central Europe, 400–900 AD,” Historical Studies on Central Europe 1, no. 1 (2021): 213–228.

  • Carlos Eduardo G. Amorim et al., “Understanding 6th-century barbarian social organization and migration through paleogenomics,” NATURE COMMUNICATIONS | (2018) 9:3547


Thursday, January 20 @ 16:00

The Epigraphic Culture of Small Towns: A Spatial Data Analysis

Dr. Pieter H.A. Houten, Research Associate, University of Hamburg


Thursday, December 9 @ 16:00

The Paradox of Northern Gaul: From Very Peripheral (450 AD) to the Centre of an Empire (800 AD)

Prof. Frans Theuws, Leiden University and PI Rural Riches

  • Frans Theuws, “Long-Distance Trade and the Rural Population of Northern Gaul,” in B. Effros and I. Moreira (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Merovingian World (2020).Theuws oxfordhb-9780190234188-e-39


Thursday, November 25 @ 16:00

What the Romans did for us? (re)Constructing the Limes and the Roman Netherlands

Dr. Saskia Stevens, Utrecht University and Pl Constructing Limes

Lecture handouts:

  • Richard Hingley, “Assessing How Representation of the Roman Past Impacts Public Perceptions of the Province of Britain,” Public Archaeology 2021


Thursday, November 4 @ 16:00

Stereotypes, Time and Space: New Approaches to Ethnicity, Medicine, Power and Religion in Europe, 950-1250

Dr. Claire Weeda, Institute for History, Leiden University

Lecture handouts:


Thursday, October 14 @ 16:00

Such a Long Journey: The Migration History of an African-Born Individual Discovered in Imperial Rome

Dr. Kevin Salesse, Founder and Director of the IsoArchHDatabase and President of the IsoArcH Association



Lecture handouts:


Thursday, September 23, 2021

Masada: A Heroic Last Stand Against Rome

Prof. Jodi Magness, Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism

UNC, Chapel Hill

Lecture handouts:


Thursday, June 10, 2021

“Could We Do This? Did They Do That?” Negotiating the Ancient World on Screen

Prof. Rebecca Usherwood, Department of Classics,
Trinity Dublin College


Lecture handouts:


Thursday, May 20, 2021

“Reading the Unread: Unlocking History Through Automated Virtual Unfolding of Sealed Documents using New X-Ray Technologies”

Prof. Rebekah Ahrendt, Department of Media and Culture Studies,
Utrecht University


Lecture handouts:


Thursday, May 6, 2021

“The New Science of Ancient Disease”

Prof. Kyle Harper, Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing, University of Oklahoma

Lecture handout:

“Germs, Genomes, and Global History in the Time

of COVID-19,” Journal of Global History 15:3 (2020): 350362.