• +44 (0)161 247 1725
  • GM 4.49 Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester Campus
  • Mon 12; Tues 11; Tues 3
  • Who am I?

    Who am I?

    I'm a specialist in Graeco-Roman Egypt and the history of demography, family, gender, and childhood in the classical past. I've published widely on these topics and regularly organise and participate in conferences, workshops and public events relating to them. 

    Why do I teach?

    I teach because I enjoy it. It's a wonderful thing to explore with students how we can understand human behaviour through the eyes of those who inhabited the ancient world. 

    Words of wisdom

    'Wonder is the beginning of wisdom'  Plato (Socrates).

    Keep asking questions and cherish your own curiosity -- questioning everything is what makes individuals and groups stronger, wiser and happier.   

    How I’ll teach you

    We'll work together: interactive face to face learning is the best way for you to engage with the history you'll learn with me. Every student has a huge potential to contribute, and to shape their own learning; it's my job to help you get the most from that potential. I'll give you everything you need and guide you in your learning.  

  • Academic Biography

    Academic and professional qualifications

    PhD Ancient History (Manchester) 

    MA Ancient World Studies (Manchester)

    BA (Hons.) Ancient History and Archaeology (Manchester)

    Previous Employment

    I've taught and held research positions at a number of leading Institutions: 

    Newcastle University, Lecturer in Ancient History, 2014/15

    Birkbeck, University of London, Lecturer in Ancient History, 2011-14

    Universitet i Oslo, Visiting Professor, May 2013

    University of Liverpool, Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, 2009-11

    University of Edinburgh, Teaching Fellow in Ancient Greek History, 2008/9

    University of Birmingham, Visiting Lecturer in Ancient History, 2007/8

    University of Manchester, Teaching Assistant, 2003-07

    Other academic service (administration and management)

    I have worked as Branch Secretary for the Manchester Classical Association and, recently, worked for the London Mayor's 'Capital Classics' programme, helping to bring Classics into classrooms in London. I currently serve as:


    I use classical languages in my research (Greek, Latin, Coptic) and encourage students to consider learning classical languages from elementary levels.

    From 2016/17 I will offer a 2nd year accredited unit Latin Sources for Historians: From the Ancient to the Medieval Worlds. This unit will get you learning Latin, hands on, using a range of historical texts, inscriptions, graffiti and other writing. The unit is open for audit to students in all UG and PG years.

    From 2017/18 two new levels of Latin will be introduced at ManMet.

  • Teaching & Research Supervision

    Undergraduate courses


    • Introduction to Ancient History Blocks 2 & 3: Rome and Egypt (1st year, with Dr J Crowley)
    • Latin Sources for Historians: from Rome to the Medieval World (Unit Leader)
    • From Cleopatra to the Coptic Christians: Egypt in the Roman World (Unit Leader)

    Contributions to:

    • Empires in World History Block 1: From Mesopotamia to the Medieval World
    • Rise of Persecuting Society Block 2: Persecution in the Roman World

    Planned for 2017/18 (subject to approval):

    • Between the Sheets. Sex and Sexuality from Antiquity to the Present Day (with Craig Griffiths) 
    • Vox Pop: Everyday Voices from the Ancient World (Unit Leader) 

    Postgraduate supervision (completed/in progress)

    Co-Supervisor and Director of Studies for Owen Rees (PhD Candidate): 'Reactions to Combat in Classical Antiquity' (in progress)

    I would be delighted to offer supervision on PhD topics in the following areas:

    • Children, childhood and family in Classical Antiquity
    • Graeco-Roman Egypt, social and cultural history
    • Ancient demographic and population history
    • Sex, gender and the body in Classical Antiquity
  • Research Expertise, Publications & Grants

    Research expertise

    • Ancient demography and health

    • Ancient children, household and family

    • Hellenistic and Roman Egypt, social and cultural history

    My primary research stems from two questions about the ancient past: what were the experiences of family and childhood for those who inhabited the ancient world? And how were these influenced by population-wide patterns of birth, death and mobility, and by local cultural and social factors? To begin to answer these questions I use documentary papyri and archaeological material from Roman Egypt (1st – 6th centuries AD) to examine the place of the family and its dynamics in relation to other social, economic and cultural institutions and processes.

    Academic collaborations


    Growing Up in an Ancient Metropolis: Children in Roman Oxyrhynchos with Dr Ville Vuolanto, Oslo

    This is the first study of its kind: a systematic analysis of thousands of papyri from the metropolis of Oxyrhynchos in Roman Egypt, to reconstruct the lives of children as they grew up within a variety of domestic, poltical, religious and communal contexts. Further details on this project can be found on the pages of University of Oslo, Institutt for filosofi, ide-og kunsthistorie og klassiske språk, and on our Research blog: paides (also in the media, here). 


    Material Cultures of Infant Feeding in the Classical World with Dr Sally Waite, Newcastle

    Along with Dr Sally Waite, I am preparing to publish details and analysis of infant feeding bottles from Antiquity, across collections in the UK and internationally. We are collating material and writing articles on the material cultures of feeding and weaning practices in the Greek and Roman worlds, and preparing publication of feeding cups in the Great North Museum: Hancock


    Between Words and Walls. Textual and Material Approaches to Ancient Housing with Dr Jennifer Baird, Birkbeck

    We are editing a volume on the relationship between housing as it was expressed in words and how it materialised in walls; this volume features research from Classicists, Ancient Historians and Archaeologists working with varied sets of material relating to ancient housing. The work builds on the success of our recent conference which was reviewed here.


    Children's Cultures in the Past and Present, with various

    I have established a research grouping that brings together researchers on children and childhood across a range of academic disciplines: History, Classics, Archaeology, Social Sciences, English Literature, Geography and Educational Studies. The objective is to expand this network formally and to engage with local community groups, museums and educational facilities in and around Manchester. 

    The study of children in the past contributes to our understanding of childhood experience and agency across contemporary societies in a broad range of socio-economic, political, educational and other contexts; it can also help us understand what factors invite and instigate change in how children live their lives, engage with their environment, and form their own cultures.

    The focus of the group’s discussions and activities is on children’s own agency in shaping their identities and cultures. Topics include:

    • children as a ‘subaltern’ group in their society;
    • children’s agency in their own ‘socialization’;
    • children’s peer cultures;
    • children’s use and ownership of space and environment;
    • children’s role in production;
    • children’s play and entertainment;
    • children and their sexuality and gender identity;
    • children’s subversion of ‘childhood’ norms;
    • children’s engagement with/abuse of their bodies and cognitive abilities;
    • children coping with trauma or conflict.

    We have held two fruitful international colloaquia at ManMet this academic year, and plan future events. Interested participants from any academic discipline, or public institution should contact me directly. 

    • Current work in progress

      • Books (authored/edited/special issues)

        Authored books

        Population, Society and the Family in Roman Egypt (in progress)

        Growing Up in an Ancient Metropolis. Children and Everyday Life in Roman Oxyrhynchos. with Ville Vuolanto (in progress)

        Edited Books

        Between Words and Walls. Material and Textual Approaches to Ancient Housing. with Jen Baird (under review)

        Demography and the Graeco-Roman World. New Insights and Approaches. with Claire Holleran, 2011, CUP


      • Refereed journal articles


        “…and all the troubles of nursing, to which their lot condemns them”: the cultural economics of breastfeeding in Roman Egypt’ (in progress)


        ‘Material cultures of infant feeding in Classical Antiquity: bottles, strainers and cups’ with Sally Waite (in progress) 

      • Chapters in books


        (under review) ‘House as community: structures in housing and kinship in Tebtynis’ in Baird, J. and Pudsey, A. (eds.) Between Words and Walls. Material and Textual Approaches to Ancient Housing CUP

        (under review) 'Children, ritual and religion in Roman Egypt' in Beaumont, L., Harrington, N., and Dillon, M. eds. Children in Antiquity. Perspectives and Experiences of Childhood in the Ancient Mediterranean Routledge

        (2016) ‘Disability and infirmitas in the ancient world: demographic and biological facts in the longue durée’ in Laes, C. ed. Disability in Antiquity Routledge

        (2016 in press) ‘Children’s cultures in Graeco-Roman Egypt’ in Grig, L. (ed.) Popular Culture in the Roman World CUP

        (2015) ‘Children and families in late Roman Egypt: family and everyday life in monastic contexts’ in Laes ,C., Mustakallio, K. and Vuolanto, V. (eds.) Children and Family in Late Antiquity. Life, Death and Interaction Leuven: Peeters: 215-234.

        (2013) ‘Children in Roman Egypt’ in Evans Grubbs, J. and Parkin, T.G. with Bell, R. (eds.). Handbook of Children and Education in the Classical World Oxford University Press: 484 -509.

        (2012) ‘Death and the family: widows and divorcées in Roman Egypt’ in Larsson Lovén, L. and Harlow, M. (eds.). Families in the Imperial and Late Antique Roman Worlds Continuum: 157-80.

        (2011) ‘Nuptiality and the demographic life cycle of families in Roman Egypt’ in Holleran, C. and Pudsey, A. (eds.) Demography and the Graeco-Roman World. New Insights and Approaches. CUP: 60-98.


        (2016) with Vuolanto, V. ‘Children’s experience and environment: the case of aunts and uncles in Oxyrhynchos’, in Aasgaard, R., Laes, C. and Vuolanto, V. eds. Being a Child in the Roman World. Children and Everyday Lives Oslo

        (under review) with Baird, J. 'Introduction: Words and Walls in Ancient Housing' in Baird, J. and Pudsey, A. (eds.) Between Words and Walls. Material and Textual Approaches to Ancient Housing

        (2011) with Holleran, C. 'Introduction: Ancient historical demography' in Holleran, C. and Pudsey, A. (eds.) Demography and the Graeco-Roman World. New Insights and Approaches: 1-13.

      • Other

        Book Reviews

        Bryen, A.Z. 2013. Violence in Roman Egypt, forthcoming for Journal of the Medieval Mediterranean

        Bagnall, R.S., Keenan, J.G. and MacCoull, L.S.B. (eds.) A Sixth Century Tax Register from the Hermopolite Nome. American Society of Papyrologists Vol. 51, JHS (2014)

        Kelly, B. 2011. Petitions, Litigation and Social Control in Roman Egypt OUP, JHS (2014)

        Laes, C. 2011. Children in the Roman Empire. Outsiders Within CUP, for Classical Review 63 (2013)

        Lindsay, H. 2009. Adoption in the Roman World CUP, for Journal of Roman Studies 101 (2011): 267-8

        de Ligt, L. and Northwood, S.J. (eds.) 2009. People, Land and Politics. Demographic Developments and the Transformation of Roman Italy, 300 BC-AD 14. Brill, for Classical Review 60 (2010): 519-521

        Thorley, J. 2004. Athenian Democracy (2nd ed.) and Stoneman, R. 2004. Alexander the Great (2nd ed.) Lancaster Pamphlets in Ancient History, Routledge, for European Review of History 14.1 (2007)

        Encyclopedia Entries

        (2103) 'Greek and Roman Family Structures' and 'Aging' in Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Archaeology Daniel Master (Editor), Jurgen K. Zangenberg (Editor), Avraham Faust (Editor), Beth Alpert Nakhai (Editor), L. Michael White (Editor) 

        (2012) 'Head of Household' and 'Lodgers' in Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Ancient History Roger S. Bagnall (Editor), Kai Brodersen (Editor), Craige B. Champion (Editor),Andrew Erskine (Editor), Sabine R. Huebner (Editor)

    • Invited keynotes and conference contribution

      • Invited papers

        (2016) Sheffield Classical Association, Sheffield: 'Child in the Ancient City'

        (2016) 28th International Congress of Papyrology, Barcelona: 'Gymnasium and Identity: Youth and Adolescence in Oxyrhynchos'

        (2016) (with Ville Vuolanto) European Association of Urban Historians Congress, Helsinki: 'Childhood spaces in Roman Oxyrhynchos'

        (2016) Manchester Classical Association Meeting 'Growing Up in Roman Egypt' 

        (2015) University of Basel: ‘The Cultural Economics of Breast-Feeding in Roman Egypt’

        (2015) (with Ville Vuolanto) University of Tampere, Finland: ‘On the road: children’s travel around Oxyrhynchos’ 2015,

        (2015) Newcastle University: ‘ “…and all the troubles of nursing, to which their station condemns them”: mothers, wet-nurses and the economics of breastfeeding in Roman Egypt’

        (2014) Oslo: ‘Children’s experience and environment: the case of aunts and uncles in Oxyrhynchos’

        (2013) London, Institute of Classical Studies: ‘Population, Society and Family in Roman Egypt’

        (2013) Birkbeck, Between Words & Walls conf.: ‘Social and housing structures in 2nd c. rural Egypt’

        (2013) (with Ville Vuolanto) Manchester: ‘Children in Roman Oxyrhynchos: everyday life in a metropolis’ 

        (2012) Gothernburg, Arachne Gender Studies con.: ‘A truth universally acknowledged? Elite marital and social status in Roman Egypt’

        (2012) Rome (Institutum Romanum Findlandiae) Roman Family VI con.: ‘Egyptian monastic children’

        (2011) Birkbeck, London: ‘Dealing with death in Roman Egypt’

        (2011) Manchester, Colloquium on Childhood in Antiquity: ‘Children and families in Roman Egypt’

        (2010) Cardiff, Classical Association Annual Meeting: ‘Family life cycles in Graeco-Roman Egypt’

        (2009) Gothenburg, Oikos - Familia: Family in the Ancient Greco-Roman World: ‘Death and the family: widows and familial networks in Roman Egypt’

        (2008) New York, Institute for Study of the Ancient World: ‘Household life-cycles in Roman Egypt’

    Conference organisation

    (2016) 'Trauma and Changing Circumstances in Youth' Network Colloquium, Manchester Centre for Youth Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University

    (2016) 'Mates, Mischief and Make-Believe. Children's Peer Cultures, Past and Present' Network Colloquium, Manchester Centre for Youth Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University

    (2013) Institute of Classical Studies and School of Advanced Studies Ancient History Seminar Series (with Prof R Alston), Senate House London

    (2013) Between Words and Walls: Material and Textual Approaches to Ancient Housing conference (with Dr J Baird) Birkbeck, University of London

    (2012/13) Rome in Bloomsbury Public Lecture Series, Birkbeck, University of London

    (2005) Manchester, Pre-modern Populations and Economies: the Case of Greece and Rome conference (with Dr C Holleran) 

    Expert reviewer for journals and publishers

    I have been invited to act as Peer Referee for:

    Historical Methods journal#



  • Engagement & Knowledge Exchange
  • Awards, Honours & Distinctions

    Prizes and awards

    Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, 2009-11

    AHRC Studentship, 2003-6

    AHRC Studentship, 2001/2

    Expert reviewer for external funding bodies

    I have been invited and acted as reviewer for:

    The Wellcome Trust

    The National Research Foundation, South Africa

    Visiting and honorary positions

    May 2014 Visiting Professor, Institut for filosofi, ide-og kunsthistorie og klassiske språk, Universitet i Oslo

    Membership of professional associations

    Member of:

    Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies

    Classical Association

    Egypt Exploration Society