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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 a graduating PhD candidate in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick. My research on gymnasia in post-Classical mainland/insular Greece is co-supervised by Prof. Michael Scott and Prof. Zahra Newby, and I completed an Erasmus research exchange at the Institut für Klassische Archäologie at Freie Universität Berlin during 2022. 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 various archaeological projects in Greece and Italy outlined below.


Thesis Title: Gymnasia in Postclassical Greece (Mainland and Cycladic Islands): Change, Continuity and the Built Environment

The postclassical period in Greece has long been seen as a time of considerable disruption and decline as a result of the various conflicts and power shifts that mark the historical narrative. Yet, my thesis reveals that the impact of such major events is more complex and locally nuanced than widespread disruption/decline. It does this by examining processes of change and continuity in the built environment and the socio-political role of gymnasia as a specific spatial and institutional context.

Gymnasia define the physical fabric and social life of most poleis and some sanctuaries from the fourth century BCE through to the fourth century CE. In my thesis, I offer an in-depth analysis of the literary, epigraphic and archaeological material from three case studies (Amphipolis, Delos and Olympia). I identify the ways in which these examples shape and are shaped by their surrounding societies, how they are utilised by various agents to establish and communicate political messages through statues and inscriptions, and the extent to which they were impacted by cultural interactions especially after the Roman conquests. Each of these elements reveal what gymnasia offer the inhabitants of a city or visitors to a sanctuary in terms of constructing identities, navigating socio-political changes, and ensuring the vitality of Greek culture and local customs in the face of such changes.

Comparison of these elements at the three sites draws out the chronological and geographical patterns of how change and continuity is specific to each polis or sanctuary. In this light, the thesis reveals the complex interplay between local socio-political conditions and the development of civic space through the lens of gymnasia, offering a reflection on postclassical Greece as whole. More broadly, this research offers a better understanding of the interplay between top-down supra-regional politics (in particular relating to Hellenistic Kingdoms and the Roman Empire) and the bottom-up experiences of and engagements with these power systems by the inhabitants of Greek poleis.

Other research interests include: landscape archaeology; ancient athletics; 3D modelling in archaeological contexts; sensory studies.

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)
    • The Art and Architecture of Asia Minor (CX232)
  • 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.
  • Administrative Assistant, Warwick Institute of Engagement, University of Warwick, January 2023-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

  • Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies, Summer Lecture (July 2022): 'Gymnasia in the early Roman Greece: continuity and change'
  • Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Klassische Archäologie Examenskolloquium (July 2022): 'Moving monuments and institutional history in the athletic training facilities on Delos'.
  • 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.’

Participation in Archaeological Projects

  • West Area of Samos Archaeological Project (University of Vienna, University of Cambridge and the British School at Athens), 2022-present. Team leader.
  • Emporio Hinterland Project on Chios (University College London and the Antiquities Ephorate of Chios), 2021-present.
  • Halaesa Archaeological Project in Sicily (University of Oxford and Università degli Studi di Messina), 2019-present.
  • Kastro Velika (Βελίκα) project in Thessaly (University of Oxford and the Antiquities Ephorate of Larissa), 2019.


  • Fieldwork Bursary, British School at Athens and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, 2021/22.
  • 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