Our projects

Our projects

Group 1: Humans in their Ancient Urban and Natural Environments

Group 1 seeks to understand how humans interacted with their environments in the ancient world of ancient Greece and Rome, Egypt, Byzantium, China, and pre-colonial Australia.

Associated Projects

A geophysical exploration of Ancient Torone in the Chalkidike - Lea Beness et al. (research project)

A transdisciplinary project aiming to map the current subsurface profile of Torone's ancient shoreline and possible harbour installations

Exploring the past with data - Ronika Power, Dr Rowan McLaughlin (Institut CatalĂ  de Paleoecologia Humana, Spain & Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland) (workshop)

This workshop will explore new data-driven methods in archaeology and history that unravel patterns in the data and provide fresh insight into the powerful but sometimes hidden forces that shape society

Human adaptation to the environment - Fred Hartdke & Heiko Reimer (workshop)

Group 2: Receptions of Ancient Cultural Heritage

This group will respond to questions around how we authenticate the artefacts and ancient discourses that are being studied to understand ancient knowledge and practices.

Associated Projects

Living Digital Heritage - Fred Hardtke & Bronwen Neil (conference October 2020)

This conference will attract papers and showcase the latest in high tech approaches to heritage preservation and understanding. It will be run during the ICOMOS General Assembly in Australia. It will showcase how Australian researchers are at the leading edge of technology applications to heritage management. It will be held in the new Arts Precinct


Macquarie @Beni Hassan – Alex Woods and co. Google arts.

A History of Inks on Egyptian Papyri – Malcolm Choat and Damian Gore

Forthcoming: workshop in 2020

Group 3: Ancient Models of Leadership: Learning from the Past

Group 3 seeks to answer the research question: what can ancient models and examples of leadership contribute to questions of leadership and government in the contemporary world?

Associated Projects

Roman Elites and their Advisors – Tom Hillard and Lea Beness (research project)

Who led the leaders of the Roman empire, and how did it change during crises?

The Macquarie Dictionary of Roman Biography Project – Lea Beness & Tom Hillard (research project)

The initial product, following a set of detailed studies many of which are already in print, will be a preliminary volume: A Dictionary of Roman Social and Political Biography 168–111 BC, comprising approximately 1500 entries embracing all known bearers of Roman citizenship in that period, together with members of their familiae. The format is prosopographical; the focus political, social and cultural.

The broader objective is the interrogation of the nature of Roman leadership at a time when the imperial Republic, in the process of transforming the Mediterranean world, was itself being transformed by that process, and to shed light on the dynamics of that broader transformation. Underlying these foci is an interest in the role of human agency in the generation, and management, of change.

Leadership in Times of Crisis (250-1000 CE) - Bronwen Neil & Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides (research project)

Late-antique Roman societies from the mid-third to the tenth centuries had a morbid fascination with the “End of Days”, and more importantly, determining their futures in the face of various kinds of crisis, whether political, environmental or religious. Such crises offered an opportunity for a different kind of leadership, one that claimed direct access to the gods or later, to God.

The interdisciplinary team of investigators compares the strategies used by citizens of the eastern Roman empire to express dissent and dissatisfaction to their leadership, including emperors and church leaders. They compare those leaders’ rhetorical and practical responses to (a) internal dissent; (b) foreign aggressors; c) neighbouring cultures with different religious identities.

By analysing first-millennium sources and their millennial concerns, our twin aims are 1. to retrieve the use of social critique and morality for and against models of political leadership in apocalyptic discourses of the later eastern Roman empire; and 2. to generate models of religious responses by leaders and citizens to crisis that may help Australian community leaders to understand and manage similar crises in the present.

Roman Leaders and Their Advisers - Bronwen Neil (workshop)

Keynote: A/Prof Philip Bosman, Stellenbosch University, Sth Africa, and expert on late-antique appropriation of the Greek philosophical tradition.

Day 1 will feature speakers on "Elite Advisors in the Roman Republic" and Day 2 "Roman imperial advisors".

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