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Dr. Helen Ackers

[Title and full name]

Visiting Lecturer (Spring Term 2018/19)

Tel: 02476 523023
Email: [email][/email]
H2.31, Humanities Building, University Road
University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL


Helen is a Classical Archaeologist whose research is focused on the art and material culture of the Ancient World. She has recently received her DPhil at Wolfson College, Oxford University, where she was a Lorne Thyssen Scholar. Prior to this she was educated at Lincoln College, Oxford University for her Mst, in Classical Archaeology, and BA, in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History. Having spent eight years in Oxford Helen briefly worked for the British School at Rome (London Offices) before winning an All Scholars’ Fulbright Award (2016-17) to go to Duke University, in North Carolina. While on the Fulbright Helen worked on developing her thesis into a monograph which she is currently preparing for publication.

Research interests

My research to date has been particularly concerned with portraiture in antiquity. This is reflected by my DPhil thesis which I am currently developing into a monograph: Gender, Image and Society: Roman women’s portrait busts in the third century AD. This study contributes to three important veins of scholarly endeavour: third century Roman material culture, gender studies on Roman women and art historical studies of the bust format. By focusing on women’s portraits in what is traditionally characterized as a hyper-masculine, militaristic era this study contributes to a revision of the third century and asserts the significance of Roman women and the virtues associated with them in this period. Building upon this research I am also interested in the societal function of women’s portraits and what their attributes, hairstyles, gestures and formats can tell us about Roman conceptions of feminine identity. For example, I have done work on the representation of hairpieces and wigs in Roman women’s portraiture. More broadly, much of my current research is concerned with how portraits, especially those in bust format, were used to express local identity at the peripheries of empire, and how, in turn, this informed ‘global’ conceptions of Roman identity. Finally, my research on the bust-format has resulted in related research interest in the collection and reception of Roman art and culture post-Antiquity.

Teaching and supervision


  • B.A., M.St. (Lincoln College, Oxford)
  • DPhil (Wolfson College, Oxford)

Office hours

Fridays (by appointment)