Ellen Swift wins AHRC grant

Dr Ellen Swift FSA, Reader in Archaeology in the Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies, has won an Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) standard project grant of c.£380,000 for a project entitled ‘Roman and Late Antique Artefacts from Egypt: Understanding Society and Culture’.

Ellen will be the Principal Investigator on the project with co-investigator Dr April Pudsey from Manchester Metropolitan University. Other key project team members are Kent alumnus Dr Jo Stoner, who is the Post-Doctoral Research Assistant on the project, and Archaeology Technician and Classical & Archaeological Studies PhD student Lloyd Bosworth.

The project involves the study of items in the collection of UCL’s Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and is the first in-depth study of Roman and Late Antique Egypt that uses everyday artefacts as its principal source of evidence. The research project aims to transform our understanding of social experience, social relations, and cultural interactions, among the populations of Egypt in this period.

Project team members will examine the features of artefacts, the materials they were made from, and evidence of modification that shows how they were used and re-used in daily life. In association with the study of papyrus texts, they will investigate aspects of social behaviour and experience and shed new light on daily life in Roman and Late Antique Egypt.

The research will bring together specialists in the interpretation of ancient Egyptian texts on papyrus, and archaeological artefacts, drawing on new methodologies and interpretative approaches including the experimental recreation of objects. Presentation of research results will include: a co-authored book on the social history of Roman and Late Antique Egypt from artefact evidence; a journal article on the 3D scanning and recreation of objects; online teaching and research resources for schools and universities; and a workshop for museums and academics.

Towards the end of the project a public exhibition at the Petrie Museum will present their research on musical instruments in particular, displaying the originals from the Petrie collection, as well as prototypes and replicas made via 3D scanning/printing technology. Visitors will be able to experience the sounds of the artefacts, handle and play the replica items, and learn how the artefacts would have been used to create particular experiences, for instance in religious and ritual activities.

Further details of AHRC grants are available at: www.ahrc.ac.uk/funding/opportunities/current/researchgrantsstandardroute/

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