All our students have the opportunity to conduct original research as part of their degree: most students in their third year will write a dissertation, an original piece of work, under the supervision of a member of staff. But there are also numerous other opportunities for undergraduate research available, whether through participation in archaeological excavation, getting involved with our annual Drama Festival, contributing to our departmental blogs, or working on a project over the summer funded by the Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (URSS). The URSS funds students to work with staff on original research projects, or to pursue their own research. These opportunities allow students to explore their interests more fully, and to develop transferable skills along the way - e.g. budgeting, planning, time management, experience in different ways of presenting ideas, collaboration, analysis of data. Opportunities for research experience are regularly posted in the departmental corridor and via email throughout the year.
Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme 2019
Over the summer of 2019 Anna Henderson completed the URSS scheme, during which she traveled to Italy to examine Etruscan wall paintings. She describes her research below:
Demons of Death. Tomba dei due tetti: a case study.
The ancient Etruscans are often compared to the dominant societies of Greece and Rome, either due to their geographical proximity (Rome) or the perceived influence of Greek culture on Etruscan society, inferred from the amount of Greek pottery discovered in Etruscan tombs. However, the Etruscans left a strong, unique legacy visible in the stunning wall paintings of their tombs. This study focusses on one particular tomb from the necropoleis (graveyard) of Tarquinia, Italy, the Tomba Dei Due Tetti. The analysis of this tomb presents the existence of a unique culture that was not submerged by the ‘popular’ ancient societies.
The method used was to research and analyse topics relevant to the case study. The iconography and stylistic tendencies of the paintings was analysed, as well as the context of the tomb that it is situated in. The wall painting was then compared to a Greek lekythos, which presents Greek funerary art and the influence it had on Etruscan society. The painting was also analysed alongside a votive statue of Vanth to present further evidence of Etruscan culture. To provide a background to the scene in the wall painting, a brief analysis of Etruscan religion was also undertaken.
The findings from this research indicate that Etruscan culture, whilst often compared to its Greek counterpart, was not simply a mimic of the Mediterranean society and instead presented its own traditions, religions and beliefs on the wall of its tombs.
Read her final poster here!
Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme 2018
The following students have been awarded scholarships to work with members of staff on projects over the summer
- Chloe Standen, 'Illustrations of Greek Love' (supervised by Clare Rowan)
- Celia Jones, 'Landscape, theatre space and dramaturgy in 5th-century Attica' (supervised by Emmanuela Bakola)
- Lucy Kitcher, 'Depictions of Apollo in the Roman Empire' (supervised by Helen Ackers)
Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme 2017
The following students have been awarded scholarships to work with members of staff on projects over the summer:
- Hannah Thorpe, Becky Rolfe, Chloe Highton and Bethany Moreing have been awarded grants to work with Clare Rowan on an English translation of Rostovtzeff's Latin catalogue of Roman tokens, as well as an examination of the imagery used. The project will involve work on the unpublished collection of Roman tokens in the British Museum, as well as a field trip to Rome.
- Gemma Walton was awarded a grant for the project "Exploration of Classical Numismatics" and will work with Clare Rowan on the department's coin collection.
- Laura Mitchell was awarded a grant to undertake a comparative study of the display of Greek Antiquities in the British Museum and the Louvre, under the supervision of Zahra Newby.
Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme 2016
Over the summer of 2016 Jivan-deep Kandola explored the impact Alexander the Great and Hellenistic art had on Buddhist art and architecture. Some of her results are presented in a poster, and in the video below:
Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme 2015
The following students have been awarded scholarships to work on reseacrh projects along with memebrs of staff during the summer vacation 2015:
- Annie Sharples (supervisor, Dr Michael Scott) - A Database of Disability in the Ancient Greek World
- Evelina Kuvykovaite (supervisor, Prof. Alison Cooley) - Early Roman Imperial Cameos: their initial function and later reception
- David Swan (supervisor, Dr. Clare Rowan) - The foreign Monstrosity in British Iron Age Thought. Read the resulting academic article here.
Finalist undergraduate Annie Sharples presented a paper 'Re-evaluating the Spartan stereotype: A change in the
way we see disability through history’ at St Andrews Undergraduate History Conference 'Innovation or Restoration: Calls for Change and Tradition in History', in February 2015, supported by IATL Student as Producer Research fund. She has also been invited to present her work at the British Conference of Undergraduate Research in Winchester in April 2015.
2nd year undergraduate Joe Grimwade has also been invited to present his work, following on from his URSS project with Clive Letchford during Summer 2014 at the British Conference of Undergraduate Research in Winchester in April 2015.
Students from our department participated in two different research projects this summer. Joe Grimwade worked with Clive Letchford on a project entitled 'The Forgotten Art of Memory', whilst Kathryn Thompson worked with Zahra Newby on “Hindrance or Heroine? A comparison of literary and visual depictions of Dido in Roman culture.”
Congratulations to Joe Grimwade, whose research on The Forgotten Art of Memory was presented as part of Posters in Parliament 2015 on 10th Feb 2015. Joe's research, conducted through the URSS scheme, examined the methods of memorisation recommended by ancient Greek and Roman orators, comparing them with the mnemonic techniques of modern performers and public speakers.
Four undergraduate students (Bradley Waters, Michael Wrench, Matthew Ellams, Emily Morgan) were awarded an Undergraduate Research Scheme bursary to participate in an academic research project over the summer. They worked with Clare Rowan on the project The Beginnings of Empire, 168-27 BC, examining what provincial numismatic iconography suggests about how Roman power was represented and negotiated in Greece, Crete and Cyrenaica in the Republican period. They worked on the online database of the project, made research trips to Oxford and London, and worked in the British Museum. They jointly published an article, (2014) 'Experiencing the Republican Empire: a numismatic perspective’ (M. Ellams, E. Morgan, C. Rowan & B. Waters) in the Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia 25: pp.55-67.
Four undergraduates from our department presented their research at this conference of undergraduate research in May.
Two first-years presented the following papers:
- Mike Wrench, Woodwind Players in Ancient Spartan Society
- Bradley Waters, Greeks on the Knife Edge: an evaluation of Graeco-Scythian relations in the ancient world
Three finalists made presentations based upon their research for their final-year dissertations:
- Nathan Murphy, Land rental and rural monetisation in Roman Egypt
- Grant McCallum, How important is fatherhood in Virgil's Aeneid from a political and poetic standpoint?
- Sarah Irving, Restitution of ancient artefacts
Congratulations to Sarah Irving for winning the 'Best Poster' of the conference competition.
The two best posters produced by first-year students following their trip to the British Museum exhibition, Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum, were very different in focus, with one analysing the journey of a loaf of bread from the fields of Campania to the House of the Stags at Herculaneum, and the other questioning whether or not a famous painting from Pompeii really depicts Bacchus on the slopes of Vesuvius. The trip to the British Museum and the competition was sponsored by the Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning. The students learnt how to work together to produce a research poster on an object of their choice, which they had studied at the exhbition. Congratulations to the winners: Joe Grimwade and Alex Porter; Elly Lee and Anna Hepburn.
Three undergraduates in the department (Laura Christophis, Frances Hoggard and Jessica Walker) were involved over the summer 2012 in helping to prepare data on metrology for the forthcoming major reference work, Historia Numorum, Siciliy and Adjacent Islands, of which Suzanne Frey-Kupper is one of the editors. They visited numismatic collections in the British Museum. They presented the results of their research in a poster.