Kent students trip to Rome

In early April 2017, Dr Emily Guerry took fourteen of her third-year students from her special subject module, ‘Saints, Relics, and Churches in Medieval Europe’ (HI 6058), on a four-day fieldtrip to explore the material culture of medieval Rome. The School of History generously subsidized the cost of travel and accommodation.


“When we arrived in the early evening, the students checked into their hostel near Termini and we all headed straight to the Forum to get a sense of the city of Rome that still-smoking hearth of culture. Our itinerary was designed to proceed both chronologically and geographically through the development of the Christian capital so our first morning was packed with time spent in the Palatine Hill and the Capitoline Museo, followed by an afternoon in the Pantheon (which was converted into a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the sixth century). Next, we examined the first major Rome house-church female cults located Santa Pudenziana, Santa Prassede, and ended our day with a special private tour of the loggia (with captivating city views) atop Santa Maria Maggiore on the Esquiline. On our second morning, we began by spending two hours inside the stunning church of San Clemente and descended into its many layers of archeological history. Then we ventured to the Lateran for private visit of SS Quattro Coronati thanks to the Augustinian nuns (and performed our very own re-staging of the Donation of Constantine), followed by a pilgrimage to the Sancta Sanctorum, wherein four enterprising students actually acquired an indulgence! We spent that in Trastevere to make a private visit with generous thanks to the Clarissa nuns to Pietro Cavallini’s monumental Last Judgment fresco in Santa Cecilia, which is said to embody the ‘turning point’ between the transformation of Gothic painting into the ‘Renaissance.’ We ended this special day by looking at the amazing spolia in Santa Maria in Trastevere purportedly the earliest location for the Roman cult of the Virgin and marveling at its resplendent medieval mosaics. We spent out last day wandering through the Vatican museums, where we came face to face with dozens of sacred and sublime objects from our course, including early Christian sarcophagi, cult statues, and even Michelangelo’s wall paintings in the Sistine Chapel. In the end, our trip was an awe-inspiring intellectual adventure. The students encountered and examined some of the most transformative examples of church architecture, painting, and sculpture in the history of art and architecture in Rome. We are all so grateful to the School of History, especially Jenny Humphrey, for providing us with this once in a lifetime opportunity.Grazie mille!

Rome MA Alumna is accepted onto PhD programme at the University of Buffalo

Congratulations to our alumna Tabitha Rose, who has been accepted onto a PhD programme at the University of Buffalo.

Tabitha not only took a Kent MA in Rome, but also took part in our field project in the Forum of Trajan in 2016 (see accompanying photograph). Our Rome Alumni have gone onto work in many sectors including higher education, art galleries and museums and publishing.

Dean of the Graduate School accompanies Rome students in final assessments

The Rome MA students were visited by the Dean of the Graduate School as they showcased their assessed itineraries around the city. Paul Allain; Dean of the Graduate School took part in Kent in Rome’s final visit assessments on 5-6 April; speaking about the itineraries he said:

“it was a great privilege to be led through the overwhelming outdoor museum that is Rome by Kent’s Master’s students, budding classics detectives. I saw the city in a totally new light as they unpacked the rich complexities of its past and revealed hidden gems that I would otherwise no doubt have passed by. Many thanks to them for letting me participate and for teaching me so much.”



Kent in Rome Events 22nd and 23rd March 2017

Kent has one of the highest concentrations of PhD students studying the Roman world in the UK, much of their work is focused on ancient Rome. At the same time, Kent has also undertaken fieldwork at the very centre of Rome, and is developing new projects, such as studying the Tiber, as well as anticipating exhibitions celebrating the life of the artist Raphael.

On Wednesday 22 March, guest are invited to attend a special event at the gallery Academia Nazionale di San Luca.

There will be presentations from a number of Kent PhD students in Classical and Archaeological Studies within the gallery specifically showcasing new research on ancient Rome ranging from the building of bridges over the Tiber, the social life of bars, the Christianisation of the family to the end of Rome’s pagan temples, whilst bringing us up to date with the study of cultural heritage in Testaccio. Prospective students will also be in attendance to find out more about the University.

On Thursday 23 March there will be a unique opportunity to take part in guided tours in central Rome from 10.00 to 15.30 with special stops along the way.

These tours will be led by Kent PhD students in Classical and Archaeological Studies studying at the University of Kent in Rome. Each PhD student will lead a tour to some of the sights of Rome which play a prominent role towards inspiring our PhD students’ theses including topics such as ‘Sounds and Smells in the Bars of Ancient Rome’ and ‘Commemorating the Dead – Inscriptions in the Capitoline Museums’.

Tours link:…/rome–excursion–23-march-2017


Italian Renaissance Document Site now open


The Italian Renaissance Document Site (IRDS) has been launched at With support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation’s Digital Resources Grant Program, this website makes available full transcriptions of primary documentation for ten Italian Renaissance artists: Piero della Francesca, Benozzo Gozzoli, Benedetto Bonfigli, Pietro Perugino, Bartolomeo della Gatta, Luca Signorelli, Giovanni Santi, Francesco di Giorgio, Neroccio de’ Landi, and Raphael. It has an English and an Italian language version, and every document is accompanied by details of its location and a basic bibliography, acknowledging the transcription author as appropriate (in some cases transcriptions have been supplied, in others published transcriptions have been followed, and the project team were also responsible for numerous new transcriptions or for revising published transcriptions from the original). There is a full-text search facility, and the increased richness of the database allows students and researchers to make connections in this documentation more easily than before. The flexibility also allows for documents to be added, or transcriptions corrected, in the future and there are plans to add photographs and possibly translations, as well as to extend the number of artists included.

This project has been directed by Tom Henry, Professor of History of Art at the University of Kent and Director of the University of Kent, Rome. Three researchers have worked on the project: Margherita Cinti, Matteo Mazzalupi and Valentina Ricci-Vitiani.


Sky Arts Docudrama features Professor Tom Henry

Tom Henry, Professor of History of Art and Director of University of Kent in Rome, was interviewed on Sky Arts’s docudrama ‘Raphael: In Search Of Beauty’: . Raphael’s enduring fascination prompted the documentary’s investigations into the sources of his art. With footage of some of his greatest works, the programme ranged from recent documentary research to imaginative interpretations of the artist’s interests (and loves).


European Summer Schools success

The European Summer Schools at the University’s centres in Paris and Brussels have just taken place for the fourth time since they were first created in 2013 as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations.


Scholarships were awarded to Kent Undergraduate students and external applicants to spend a fortnight participating in academic sessions and cultural activities in these two major European capital cities.

Students in Brussels studied on the theme of ‘Europe and the World’ benefitting from dynamic sessions including those on International Migration, European Neighbourhood Policy and a discussion with a member of the British Embassy on the EU referendum result and the future of the EU.

Students also had the chance to visit the European Parliament to discuss the EU with a current MEP, as well as to take part in an all-day guided tour of the battlefields of WW1 in Ypres, Flanders. Here, students learned about the human cost and political impact of the First World War and discovered how it helped to shape today’s Europe.

Students in Paris studied on the theme of ‘Revolutions’ immersing themselves in French culture by exploring the city’s art, architecture, film, drama, writing and philosophy. Through a series of interconnected lectures and excursions guided by academic specialists, students visited a wide range of culturally and historically significant sites including the Pompidou centre, Versailles and Picasso Museum.

At the end of the Summer School, the students had developed close friendships with each other and had gained analytical and intercultural skills that they can take with them into their studies and out into the job market. The programme has also helped to promote Kent’s European Centres.

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the generosity of the programme’s sponsors, including Student Project Funds.

Sophie Punt, Academic Division

Kent’s Hi-Tech Archaeologists are working in Rome


A team of postgraduates are collecting new data in the Markets of Trajan adjacent to the Imperial Forum built by Trajan in the second century AD.


The data is collected with a portable Xray Flouresence (pXRF) analyser. This provides indications of the geo-chemical composition of paving stones from the site.  In turn, this will allow researchers at the University of Kent to establish from which lava flow the stone was quarried.  The machine is placed on each paving-stone for 90 seconds without any damage or destruction to the material.

Two PhD students taking part in this work, Julia Peters and Catherine Hoggarth, studied for their MAs in Rome, whilst Tabitha Rose is currently taking the MA. They will be working alongside a geologist, Mike Worthing and Lloyd Bosworth – the Department’s Archaeology Technician.

The project is led by Professor Ray Laurence and informs his research on Roman roads in Italy. His previous publications on this topic include The Roads of Roman Italy: Mobility and Cultural Change.

Professor Laurence commented: This work will provide us with new insights into the pattern of supply of stone for paving the streets of Rome.  The team has worked hard to calibrate the equipment to replicate in the field, what might only be achieved in a large laboratory or via the destruction of archaeological materials. pXRF is a neat solution to provide a lot of data quickly using a small team.

Kent in Rome – Raphael events 2016


To coincide with the death of Raphael 496 years ago, the University of Kent held one of its annual European alumni events at the American University of Rome (AUR) on Wednesday 6 April 2016. This event was the second of a planned series of annual workshops building up to the 500th anniversary celebrations of Raphael’s death in 2020.

Two events took place at the University of Kent in Rome in April 2016; the first was a lecture delivered by Professor Arnold Nesselrath to mark the 496th anniversary of Raphael’s death, which presented the principal findings of the 30 year restoration campaign that he oversaw in the Raphael Stanze. This was then followed by a drinks reception. The next day, our Academic Director of Rome programmes, Professor Tom Henry, organised a study excursion to Tivoli for MA staff and students of Art History and Classics courses to mark the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s visit to Tivoli in April 1516. The study excursion visited the Sanctuary of Hercules Victor, the Villa d’Este and the Villa Adriana before returning to central Rome.

Professor Arnold Nesselrath’s lecture entitled “In the light of Raphael” focussed on how Raphael made use of light in different ways to convey emotion and depth. The lecture was well attended by AUR staff and students, alumni and University of Kent staff and was followed by a drinks and canape reception in the garden of AUR. This presented an excellent networking opportunity for guests to mingle and discuss the lecture over some delicious Roman catering!

The following day, the study excursion saw 35 students and staff board the coach to Tivoli, a city north-east of Rome. The first site we visited was the Sanctuary of Hercules Victor, only recently opened to the public in May 2015, located at the foot of Tivoli. Within the 3,000 square meters of the sanctuary is a large sacred area in the shape of a square, a theatre, and a temple which originally housed the statue of Hercules. The group then went on to the Villa d’Este, a Renaissance palace with stunning gardens and water fountains, which was originally built in 1550 for Cardinal Ippolito d’Este, the son of Lucrezia Borgia and Alfonso d’Este. The garden is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its significance in the history of garden design, and its fountains find acclaim worldwide.

At this point, the group stopped for lunch at the Ristorante Sibilla, beside the Temple of Vesta. Lunch was served al fresco under a canopy of wisteria, looking out over the falls of the Aniene river in the blazing sunshine. Afterwards, the group walked around the Temple of Vesta and saw beautiful panoramic views down to the Villa Gregoriana. Our last visit was to the Villa Adriana, the site chosen by Emperor Hadrian for a huge palace set in acres of countryside. The group wandered around the extensive ruins which included a theatre, a stadium, many water features and thermal baths. Perhaps the most awe-inspiring site was the Canopus- a large rectangular pool measuring 121.4 metres long by 18 metres wide. The pool gained its name from an island in the Nile in Egypt that was the sanctuary of Serapis, the god of the Underworld, and is surrounded by chalk replicas of the original Roman copies of Greek sculptures from the Severa age.


Both the lecture and study excursion attracted a number of academics from various institutions, which provided a valuable opportunity for students and indeed staff to discuss what Raphael would have seen on his visit to Tivoli. Each location throughout the study excursion prompted a new area of discussion and encouraged future collaborations between AUR and the University of Kent; such as developing studies in Renaissance Art and Classics programmes.

Dr Philippa Jackson wrote that “the mixture of expertise of the professors, the ability to discuss across humanistic disciplines and periods, and the enthusiasm of all was an exemplary example of the importance of site visits and time for discussion which have always aided the development of such studies. As a cultural historian I was particularly interested in the archaeological knowledge imparted and a chance to discuss matters of the Renaissance in the light of the classical past. I would like to thank everyone involved in the arrangement of the lecture at the American university and the trip to Tivoli.”