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Matthew Evans

[Title and full name]

Postgraduate Researcher

Email: matthew dot evans dot 2 at warwick dot ac dot uk

Humanities Building, University Road
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL


I am currently a third year PhD candidate in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick. From April 2022 to October 2022, I will be studying at the Institut für Klassische Archäologie at Freie Universität Berlin as part of an Erasmus research program. My project is co-supervised by Prof. Michael Scott and Prof. Zahra Newby, and explores ancient Greek gymnasia through a social approach to space and the built environment. I received first-class honours (with awards) in my BA in Ancient History at Cardiff University (2018) and received a distinction in my Mst in Classical Archaeology at the University of Oxford (2019). I have participated in archaeological projects in Greece and Italy, including the Emporio Hinterland Project on Chios (2021, University College London and the Antiquities Ephorate of Chios), the Halaesa Archaeological Project in Sicily (since 2019, University of Oxford and Università degli Studi di Messina), and Kastro Velika (Βελίκα) project in Thessaly (2019, University of Oxford and the Antiquities Ephorate of Larissa).


My thesis is on gymnasia in Hellenistic and Roman Greece (mainland and Cycladic islands), and examines the interrelationship between the built environment and the local social, political and cultural conditions in specific poleis/sanctuaries (primarily Amphipolis, Delos and Olympia). I am particularly interested in understanding the continuity and change of architecture and monuments in gymnasia in relation to major historical events such as the expansion of Rome in the second and first centuries BCE. My approach takes the individual — as the actor, agent and perceiver in the built environment — as its primary line of enquiry; it integrates a spatial analysis of the archaeological evidence (both on micro- and macro-levels) with a social analysis of the individuals and groups attested as using each gymnasium in the epigraphic and literary record. This reveals how processes of social interaction, self-representation and place-making shape and are shaped by the built environment. The thesis argues that the built environment plays a nuanced and specific role in maintaining, renegotiating and redefining the interrelationship not only between gymnasia and poleis/sanctuaries, but also between the users of urban/religious space and local social, political, economic and cultural conditions.

Other research interests include: athletics in ancient philosophy and literature, computational approaches in archaeology, sensory studies as applied to Classics/classical archaeology, and cultural interactions through athletics and leisure.

Other Roles

  • Conference organiser, The Sense(s) of Athletics in the Ancient Mediterranean World, Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Warwick, April 28th-29th 2022.
  • Sessional Teacher, Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Warwick, 2020-2022.
    • Hellenistic World (CX251)
    • Greek Culture and Society (CX109)
  • Co-organiser, Postgraduate Colloquium, Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Warwick, 2020/2021.
  • Co-organiser, Work in Progress Seminar Series, Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Warwick, 2020/2021.
  • Secretary, Postgraduate Student-Staff Liason Council (SLLC), Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Warwick, 2020/2021.
  • Co-founder and co-editor, Material Musings blog, Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Warwick, January 2021-present.
  • Postgraduate Student Ambassador, Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Warwick, September 2021-present.


Evans, M.P. (2020). "Architectural and Spatial Features of Plato's Gymnasia and Palaistrai." In H.L Reid, M. Ralkowski, & C. Zoller (Eds.), Athletics, Gymnastics, and Agon in Plato. Sioux City, Iowa: Parnassos Press. pp. 31-50.

Papers Presented

  • University of Warwick, The Sense(s) of Athletics in the Ancient Mediterranean World (April 2022): ‘Undefeated by heat: Greek athletes and thermal experience’.
  • Classical Association Conference 2022, Swansea University (April 2022): ‘Social interaction and the built environment: the gymnasium complex at Olympia’.
  • Durham University/Open University, Faces Behind the Façades: Lives of People and Monuments – Construction, Use and Inspiration (March 2022): 'Built environment and social interaction in the gymnasion complexes of Olympia and Delos'.
  • International Hellenic University, Thessaloniki, International Conference of History and Archaeology (November 2021): ‘Space and social identity: architecture and Olympic athletes in the gymnasion complex of Olympia.’
  • University of Edinburgh, Work in Progress seminar (October 2021): ‘Beautiful bodies in Plato’s gymnasia: bridging the gap between philosophy and the everyday through archaeology and spatial analysis.’
  • University of Oxford/Freie Universität Berlin, The Senses, Pleasure, and Self-Discipline in Antiquity and Late Antiquity (October 2021): ‘The multisensory experience of athletic training in late-Classical and Hellenistic gymnasia/palaistrai: bodies, pleasure and the senses.’
  • A.G. Leventis Ancient Worlds Day 2021, University of Warwick (June 2021): ‘”Fighting for the glory of Greece”: athletes, cultural background and expanding horizons at the ancient Olympic Games.’
  • British School at Athens, AthENIS (Athens Early-career Network of International Scholars, May 2021, online): ‘Spatial Analysis at the Gymnasion of Amphipolis: Some Preliminary Results.’
  • University of Warwick, Work in Progress seminar (February 2021): ‘The Gymnasion Complex at Olympia: Spatial Analysis and Social Identity;’ (November 2021) ‘Inscribed name lists and the athletic training facilities on Delos.’
  • University of Warwick, Postgraduate Colloquium (May 2020): ‘Gymnasia: A Multisensory Approach to Ancient Greek Space;’ (June 2021): ‘Space and the polis: statues, inscriptions and architectural context in the gymnasion of Amphipolis.’


  • Graduate bursary for a two-week research stay at the Fondation Hardt (Geneva, Switzerland), Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, September 2021.
  • The Hector and Elizabeth Catling Bursary, British School at Athens, 2020/21.
  • Fieldwork Bursary, British School at Athens and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, 2020/21.
  • Thomas Greene Fund (Craven Committee, University of Oxford) towards participation in the Halaesa Archaeological Project, 2019.
  • Lorne Thyssen Research Fund (Ancient World Research Cluster, Wolfson College, University of Oxford) to complete fieldwork at Pompeii. This was in aid of my Mst dissertation on cultural exchanges through leisure and athletics in late-Hellenistic Pompeii, 2019.
  • Cardiff University R. G. Austin Prize for “Best Final Year Performance in Ancient History” 2018/17.
  • Cardiff University Elizabeth Thomas Award for “Best Performance in Ancient History Year 2” 2017/16.


  • BA in Ancient History, Cardiff University (2018).

  • Mst in Classical Archaeology, University of Oxford (2019).




Material Musings Blog