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Dr Caspar Meyer

BA Classical Archaeology (London), DPhil Classical Archaeology (Oxford)

Lecturer in Classical Archaeology

Contact details

Department of History, Classics and Archaeology
Birkbeck, University of London
Room 3.09
28 Russell Square

Tel: + 44 (0)207 079 0601


  • Caspar Meyer joined the department in 2007, after holding research fellowships at the Getty Institute in Los Angeles and the Centre Louis Gernet in Paris. His work concentrates on Greek archaeology and the reception of classical art in modern Europe.

Research and teaching

  • Introduction
  • Modern academia is fixated with written texts and with the categories of understanding relayed through texts. Even in disciplines which are concerned with material culture and visual representation, research outcomes are normally conveyed through the structures of written narrative. This situation imposes severe limitations on our capacity for historical explanation, as the vast majority of information that allows us to navigate through life and form a distinct identity is acquired visually rather than verbally. My research aims to achieve a better understanding of the relationship between visual knowledge and society by contrasting the different ways in which the figured monuments of classical Greece interacted with their ancient and modern audiences, from worshippers in sanctuaries to museum visitors. In so doing, my work explores not only specific historical situations but also the general processes of material cognition.
  • In my recent book I examine the ancient and modern receptions of a subset of classical art, the Greco-Scythian metalwork from the mounded tombs in the northern Black Sea steppes – the region associated with the Scythian nomads in classical sources. My focus is the strikingly life-like depictions of nomadic custom on these objects: what they can tell us about the ideology and practice of elite power in antiquity and how they were implicated in the construction of modern imperial visions of Scythia as an archetype of tsarist and Soviet Russia.
  • Research interests
  • Greek art and archaeology
  • Cultural and religious interaction in the Black Sea region
  • Museum and visual culture studies
  • Theories of representation and identity
  • Teaching
  • I convene the MA Classical Archaeology, and have designed a number of modules at both undergraduate and MA level, including:
  • From temples to museums: post-classical encounters with classical antiquities (MA)
  • Cult & community in early Greece (MA)
  • Themes & concepts in classical archaeology (MA core course)
  • Cultural interaction in the archaic Greek world (UG, Group 2)
  • Power & self-presentation in the Greek and Hellenistic worlds (UG, Group 2)
  • The archaeology of Greece, c.1000-300 BC
  • PhD supervision
  • Ancient narratives in the modern museum
  • Network theory approaches to ancient Campania
  • Affiliations
  • Council member of  the Classical Art Research Centre, Oxford
  • Council member of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, London
  • Bibliotheca Academica Translationum, BAT, studies the transmission of knowledge between European scholarly communities through the medium of translations of works of classical scholarship made during the period 1701-1917
  • Postclassicisms, a global research network dedicated to redefining the study of classical antiquity


  • Books
  • Greco-Scythian Art and the Birth of Eurasia: From Classical Antiquity to Russian Modernity. Oxford Studies in Ancient Culture and Representation, Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Reviews: Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2014.09.60, CJ-Online 2015.11.03, Classical Review 65. 1 (2015) 258-260, Museum Helveticum 72 (2015) 115-116, Journal of Hellenic Studies 135 (2015) 280-281, Ancient West and East 15 (2016) 441-443.
  • Co-edited with A. Petsalis-Diomidis, Picturing the Greek Vase: Classical Reception between Art and Science. Visual Conversations in Art and Archaeology, Oxford University Press, in prep.
  • Co-edited with D.C. Kurtz, D. Saunders and A. Tsingarida, Studies in the Memory of Eleni Hatzivassiliou. Beazley Archive Studies in Classical Archaeology IV, Oxford, 2008.
  • Articles / Chapters
  • “Why Antiquarian Drawings still Matter”, in C. Meyer and A. Petsalis-Diomidis (eds.), Picturing the Greek Vase: Classical Reception between Art and Science. Visual Conversations in Art and Archaeology, Oxford University Press, in prep.
  • “All about the Body? The Matter of Temporality in the Study of Greek Sculpture”, in A. Lichtenberger and R. Raja (eds.), The Diversity of Classical Archaeology. Studies in Classical Archaeology. Vol. 1, Brepols, 2017.
  • “Foucault’s Clay Feet: Ancient Greek Vases in Modern Theories of Sex”, History Workshop Journal 85 (2018).
  • “Domesticating the Ancient House: The Archaeology of a False Analogy”, in J.A. Baird and A. Pudsey (eds.), Between Words and Walls: Textual and Material Approaches to Ancient Housing, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.
  • “From Scythian Ethnography to Aryan Christianity: Herodotean Revolutions on the Eve of the Russian Revolution”, in T. Harrison and J. Skinner (eds.), Herodotus in the Long Nineteenth Century: Ethnography, Nationalism and Disciplinary Formation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.
  • “Russian Encounters with Classical Antiquities: Archaeology, Museums and National Identity in the Tsarist Empire”, in Zara Martirosova Torlone, Dana LaCourse Munteanu and Dorota Dutsch (eds.), A Handbook to Classical Reception in Eastern and Central Europe, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell., 2017, 491-504.
  • “Le sacrement scythe: Rostovtseff, son interprétation de l’art gréco-scythe et l’étude de l’interaction culturelle dans le royaume du Bosphore”, in P. Burgunder (ed.), Etudes pontiques: Histoire, historiographie et sites archéologiques du bassin de la mer Noire. Etudes de lettres 290 (2012) 151-182.
  • Iranians and Greeks After 90 Years: A Religious History of Southern Russia in Ancient Times”, Ancient West & East 10 (2011) 75-93.
  • Translation of M.I. Rostovtzeff, “Predstavlenie o monarkhicheskoi vlasti v Skifii i na Bospore [The Concept of Monarchical Power in Scythia and on the Bosporos]”, IAK 49 (1913) 1-62, Ancient West & East 10 (2011) 94-159.
  • “Rostovtzeff and the Classical Origins of Eurasianism”, Anabases. Traditions et réception de l'Antiquité 9 (2009) 185-198.
  • “A Collection of Ancient Market Weights from Histria, Callatis and Tomis in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Catalogue With Introductory Essay”, Il Mar Nero 5 (2007) 41-76.
  • “A Lead Test-Piece from Histria in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford”, Numismatic Chronicle 166 (2006) 25-26.
  • Co-authored with A. Moreno, “A Greek Metrological Koine: A Lead Weight from the Western Black Sea Region in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford”, Oxford Journal of Archaeology 23 (2004) 209-216.
  • Entries
  • “Borysthenes”, “Ister”, “Maeotis”, “Nomads”, “Olbia”, Sigynnae”, “Tanais”, “Taurians”, in C. Barron (ed.), The Herodotus Encyclopedia, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming.
  • “Rostovtzeff, Michael I. (1870-1952)”, in Roger S. Bagnall, Kai Brodersen, Craige B. Champion, Andrew Erskine and Sabine R. Huebner (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Ancient History, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016.
  • “Scythian Empire”, in J.M. MacKenzie (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Empire, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016.
  • “Aristocracy”, “City-State”, “The People”, in M. Bevir (ed.), SAGE Encyclopedia of Political Theory, Los Angeles, 2010.
  • Recent Reviews
  • J. M. Hurwit, Artists and Signatures in Ancient Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015, Journal of Hellenic Studies 137 (2017).
  • N. T. Arrington, Ashes, Images, and Memories: The Presence of the War Dead in Fifth-Century Athens. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2015, CJ-Online 2016.05.09.
  • L. Giuliani, Image and Myth: A History of Pictorial Narration in Greek Art. Trans. J. O’Donnell. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2013, Classical Review 65. 1 (2015) 307–308.