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Dr Jennifer Baird

B.A. (Hons), M.A. Ph.D. (Leicester), FSA

Senior Lecturer in Archaeology

Contact details

Department of History, Classics and Archaeology
Birkbeck, University of London
Room 3.02
28 Russell Square
London
WC1B 5DQ

Email: j.baird@bbk.ac.uk
Tel: 020 7631 6808

Profile

  • 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
  • Teaching
  • 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)
  • Excavating Identity: The Archaeology of Being Roman (undergraduate group 2)
    The Archaeology of the Roman Empire (undergraduate group 1)
    Edge of Empire: The Archaeology of Roman frontiers and boundaries (MA)
  • Between Words and Walls: Material and Textual Approaches to Ancient Housing (MA)

Publications

  • Books
  • Baird, J. A.  and C. Taylor, edd. 2011, Ancient Graffiti in Context. New York: Routledge.
    Baird, J. A. (forthcoming summer 2014) The Inner Lives of Ancient Houses: An Archaeology of Dura-Europos. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Baird, J. A. and A. Pudsey, edd. (In prep) Between Words and Walls: Textual and Material Approaches to Ancient Housing.
  • Journal articles
  • Baird, J. A. 2012, “Re-excavating the houses of Dura-Europos” Journal of Roman Archaeology 25: 101-123.
    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
    James, Simon, J. A. Baird, and Kristian Strutt 2012, “Magnetometry survey of Dura’s Roman military base and vicinity”, in Leriche, Pierre, Ségolène de Pontbriand and Gaëlle Coqueugniot (eds) Europos-Doura Varia 1. Beirut: IFPO, 111-116.
    Baird, J. A. 2012, “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 Varia 1. Beirut: IFPO, 231-240.
    Baird, J. A. and Lesley McFadyen, (forthcoming, 2014), “Towards an Archaeology of Archaeological Archives” Archaeological Review from Cambridge 29.2 (The Archive Issue)
    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. 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. 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. 2011, “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. (submitted, forthcoming, 2014) “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 Seri
    Baird, J. A. (submitted, forthcoming 2014) “Private graffiti? Scratching the Walls of Houses at Dura-Europos” in Rebecca Benefiel (ed) Inscriptions in Private Places. Brill Studies in Greek and Roman Epigraphy: Leiden: Brilles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lectures
  • Recent and upcoming:Anthropology and Photography Conference, Royal Anthropological Institute, Conference Paper: “Mistaken images: intent and accident in archaeological photography”, May 2014.http://www.nomadit.co.uk/rai/events/rai2014/panels.php5?PanelID=2938Between Words and Walls: Material and Textual Approaches to Houses, Birkbeck College, Conference Paper: “Between Words and Walls at Dura-Europos”, August 2013.
    Field Notes: Histories of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge's Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH). Invited presentation “Still Lifes and Stage Sets: Authority and Authenticity in Archaeological Photographs”, May 2014.
    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.

Media

Professional membership

  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries
  • Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, Palestine Exploration Fund, Council for British Research in the Levant. Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Current activities

 
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