Dr Jennifer Baird
B.A. (Classics and Archaeology, Memorial University of Newfoundland), M.A. (Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, University of British Columbia), Ph.D. (Archaeology, University of Leicester
Lecturer in Archaeology
Department of History, Classics and Archaeology
Birkbeck, University of London
28 Russell Square
Tel: 020 7631 6808
- Jen Baird came to Birkbeck in 2008 after holding a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Leicester. Her main interest is in the archaeology of Rome’s Eastern provinces and the archaeology of everyday life, but she has also published on ancient graffiti, ancient urbanism, archaeological photography, and the history of Classical archaeology.
Research and teaching
- Research interests
- My central research interests include Roman provincial archaeology, ancient housing, and the history of Classical archaeology. My publications have used the site known as Dura-Europos, in Syria, to explore these topics. Dura was a polis that was variously under Hellenistic, Parthian, and Roman control until its demise at the hands of the Sasanians in the mid-third century CE. It was excavated under the directorship of Franz Cumont and Michael Rostovtzeff in the 1920s and 30s. Using new fieldwork in tandem with archival resources, my main project will bring the largest corpus of urban housing in the Roman east to publication for the first time. It integrates architecture, artefacts, and textual evidence to examine ancient daily life and responses to Roman hegemony, and will be published by Oxford University Press as The Inner Lives of Ancient Houses: Experiencing Empire at Dura-Europos.
- One of the challenges facing contemporary Classical archaeology is how to approach the vast amount of legacy data generated by our discipline over its history, including a wealth of information generated, but often not published, by the ‘big digs’ of sites like Dura. The archives formed by such excavations are a rich resource and challenge, a resource which demands not only to be exploited as archaeological data but as an archive which must itself be set in historical context. In the Dura archive, I have kept (re)counting potsherds, but moved to write about other lines of enquiry too, questioning the archaeological gaze, the nature of archaeological archives, and the latent value judgment in the very name of Classical archaeology.
- For copies of some of my articles and chapters, see: http://birkbeck.academia.edu/JABaird
- I teach a number of undergraduate and postgraduate modules including
- The Past in the Present: Classical Archaeology in the Modern World Empire (undergraduate group 2)
The Archaeology of the Roman Empire (undergraduate group 1)
The Archaeology of Greece Empire (undergraduate group 1)
Materials and Objects in Archaeology Empire (undergraduate group 1)
Edge of Empire: The Archaeology of Roman frontiers and boundaries (MA)
- Baird, J. A. and C. Taylor, edd. 2010, Ancient Graffiti in Context. New York: Routledge. Paperback forthcoming, December 2012.
- Baird, J. A. (In prep, 2014) The Inner Lives of Ancient Houses: Experiencing Empires at Dura-Europos. Oxford: Oxford University Press
- Articles and chapters
- Journal articles:
- Baird, J. A. 2011, “Photographing Dura-Europos, 1928-1937. An Archaeology of the Archive”. American Journal of Archaeology 115.3, 427-46. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3764/aja.115.3.0427
- Baird, J. A. (2012), “Re-excavating the houses of Dura-Europos” Journal of Roman Archaeology 25: 101-123.
- James, Simon, J. A. Baird, and Kristian Strutt (in press), “Magnetometry survey of Dura’s Roman military base and vicinity”, in Leriche, Pierre, Ségolène de Pontbriand and Gaëlle Coqueugniot (eds) Europos-Doura Études 6. IFPO.
- Baird, J. A. (in press), “L’habitat d’époque romaine à Europos-Doura: replacer les artéfacts en contexte”, in Leriche, Pierre, Ségolène de Pontbriand and Gaëlle Coqueugniot (eds) Europos-Doura Études 6. IFPO.
- Chapters in edited volumes:
- Baird, J. A. 2011, “The Houses of Dura-Europos: Archaeology, Archive, and Assemblage”, in L. Brody and G. Hoffman (eds) Dura-Europos: Crossroads of Antiquity. Boston: McMullan Museum, 235-250.
- Baird, J. A. 2012, “Constructing Dura-Europos, Ancient and Modern”, in Kathryn Lafrenz Samuels and Darian Totten (eds) Making Roman Places: Past and Present. Portsmouth: JRA Supplemental Series, 34-49.
- Baird, J. A. and C. Taylor 2010, “Ancient Graffiti in Context: Introduction”, in Baird, J. A. and C. Taylor, (eds) Ancient Graffiti in Context. New York: Routledge, 1-19.
- Baird, J. A. 2010, “Graffiti at Dura-Europos: A Contextual Approach”, in Baird, J. A. and C. Taylor, (eds) Ancient Graffiti in Context. New York: Routledge, 49-68.
- Baird, J. A. 2007, “The Bizarre Bazaar: Early Excavations in the Roman East and Problems of Nomenclature”, in Croxford, Benjamin, Nick Ray, Roman Roth, and Natalie White (eds) TRAC 06: Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference Proceedings 2006. Oxford: Oxbow, 34-42.
- Baird, J. A. 2007, “Shopping, Eating and Drinking at Dura-Europos: Reconstructing Contexts”, in Lavan, Luke, Ellen Swift, and Toon Putzeys (eds) Objects in Context, Objects in Use: Material Spatiality in Late Antiquity. Late Antique Archaeology Supplementary Volume 4. Leiden: Brill, 413-437.
- Baird, J. A. (2012) “Dura Deserta: The Death and Afterlife of Dura-Europos”, in Christie, Neil and Andrea Augenti (eds) Vrbes Extinctae: Archaeologies of Abandoned Classical Towns, Aldershot: Ashgate, 307-329.
- Baird, J. A. (forthcoming) “Everyday life in Roman Dura-Europos: The Evidence of Dress Practices”, in Kaizer, Ted (ed) Religion, Society and Culture at Dura-Europos. Yale Classical Studies Series, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Contributions to Encyclopaedias and Handbooks
- Baird, J. A. (in press, Feb 2013) “Religion and Ritual in Early Cities” in P. Clark (ed) Oxford Handbook of Cities in World History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 181-196.
- Baird, J. A. 2010, “City: Roman Urbanism”, in Gagarin, Michael (ed) Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 161-165.
- Baird, J. A. 2008, Review of Housing in Late Antiquity. From Palaces to Shops, edited by Luke Lavan, Lale Özgenel & Alexander Sarantis. Leiden: Brill, 2007. Medieval Archaeology 52: 465-466. doi: 10.1179/174581708x335549
- Baird, J. A. 2009, Review of A Social Archaeology of Households in Neolithic Greece, by Stella G. Souvatzi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2009.07.54. http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2009/2009-07-54.html
- Baird, J. A. 2009, Review of Aspects of the Roman East: Papers in Honour of Professor Fergus Millar, edited by Richard Alston and Samuel Lieu. Turnhout: Brepols, 2007. Journal of Roman Studies 98: 234-235. doi:10.3815/007543509789745179
- Baird, J. A. (2012), Review of Domestic Space in Classical Antiquity, by Lisa C. Nevett. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Classical Review 62. 2 620-622. doi: 10.1017/S0009840X12001333
- Baird, J. A. (submitted, forthcoming 2012), Review of Whispering City. Rome and its Histories, by R. J. B Bosworth. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011. Journal of Roman Studies 102 (2012). doi:10.1017/S0075435812000226
- Baird, J. A. (submitted, forthcoming 2012), Review of Everyday Writing in the Graeco-Roman East, by Roger S. Bagnall. Journal of Hellenic Studies 132
- Baird, J. A. (2012), Review of A History of Aerial Photography and Archaeology. Mata Hari’s Glass Eye and Other Stories, by Martyn Barker. London: English Heritage, 2010. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 22.3, 429-30. doi:10.1017/S0959774312000546
- Lectures in 2012-13 include:
- Photographic History Research Centre Seminar at De Montfort University. Invited lecture on history of archaeological photography, “Exposing Archaeology: Time, Beauty, and the Role of Photographs in Archaeological Knowledge”, March 2013.
- XIV Congressus Internationalis Epigraphiae Graecae et Latinae, Graffiti in Private Spaces, “Private graffiti? Scratching the walls of houses at Dura-Europos” invited lecture for section on “Inscriptions in Private Places” organised by Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Berlin, August 2012.
- Pitt Rivers Museum Research Seminar in Material and Visual Anthropology, Oxford University, invited lecture, “Exposing Archaeology: Photographs, Time, and Archaeological Knowledge”, June 2012.
- Institute of Classical Studies, Roman Art Seminar, “Focussing on Roman objects: photographing the art and artefacts of Dura-Europos”, King’s College, London, April 2012.
- Edinburgh Classics Research Seminar, invited lecture, “The Houses of Dura-Europos: A Biographical Approach”, March 2012.
- Feature on Dura-Europos photography research in Popular Archaeology in June 2011: http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/june-2011/article/study-sheds-new-light-on-archaeology-of-the-dura-europos-expedition
- Feature on Ancient Graffiti in Context in Boston Globe (1600 words): “Titas Wuz Here: Ancient Graffiti gives up its secrets” by Chris Wright, March 20, 2011: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2011/03/20/titas_wuz_here/?page=1
- Ancient Graffiti in Context featured in Smithsonian Magazine, “Reading the Writing on Pompeii’s Walls” by Kristin Olsen, July 27, 2010: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Reading-the-Writing-on-Pompeiis-Walls.html
- Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, Palestine Exploration Fund, Council for British Research in the Levant. Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
- Co-organising conference (with Dr April Pudsey) Between Words and Walls: Material and Textual Houses in the Graeco-Roman World, London, August 2013