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Professor Jen Baird

  • Overview



    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 topics such as ancient graffiti, ancient urbanism, archaeological photography, archaeological archives, and the history of Classical archaeology. Many of these publications have focussed on the site of Dura-Europos in Syria, where she has worked both in the field and in the archives, now held at Yale University Art Gallery. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

    Her most recent book is Dura-Europos, published in Bloomsbury's Archaeological Histories series in 2018. Her book on the housing of Dura, The Inner Lives of Ancient Houseswas published by Oxford University Press in 2014. She has co-edited a number of collections including Ancient Graffiti in Context (2011), Remembering Roman Syria (2019), and Housing in the Ancient Mediterranean World: Material and Textual Approaches (Forthcoming with Cambridge University Press).

    Web profiles

    Administrative responsibilities

    • On Research Leave, Academic Year 2021-2022

    Professional activities

    Member of AHRC Peer Review College

    Member of Advisory Council for the Institute of Classical Studies

    Specialist Assessor, Cultural Protection Fund, British Council

    Member of editorial committee, Britannia (Journal of Romano-British and Kindred Studies, published for the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies)

    Institute for Historical Research/Institute for Classical Studies/Warburg Institute Joint Research Degrees Committee

    Mentor for Syrian academics in exile with the Council for at-Risk Academics (Cara)

    Member of Roman Archaeology Committee, Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies

    Member of the Board of Trustees, Palestine Exploration Fund

    Member of Yale Digital Dura-Europos Archive Advisory Board

    Professional memberships

    Honours and awards

    • Keynote Lecture, The Shadows of the Discipline: Time in Archaeological Photographs, University of British Columbia, Department of Anthropology/Department of Classics Near Eastern and Religious Studies, November 2019
    • Keynote Lecture, Imperial Debris, Global and Local Cultures in the Roman East: From Domination to Interaction, University of Helsinki, November 2018
    • Keynote Lecture, In Small Scratches Forgotten: Perspectives on Graffiti from Ancient Dura-Europos, Amsterdam Centre of Urban Studies, UVA, November 2016
    • Margo Tytus Research Fellowship, Department of Classics, University of Cincinnati, November 2008
    • Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow, Leverhulme Trust, November 2007


  • Research


    Research Centres and Institutes

    Research clusters and groups

    • Materialities and material cultures
    • Difference, race and inequality
    • Environment: urban, rural, global
  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students who are interested in undertaking research in any of my areas of research interest, including the Roman Near East, archaeological photography, and archaeological archives.

    My current PhD students include AHRC-funded campus-based and distance learning students working on PhDs topics including:

    • Scratching the Surface: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Graffiti from Hatra in Northern Iraq
    • The Thames on the Eve of Londinium: Exploring the Late Iron Age Landscape of the Tidal river
    • Life in Photographs: Movement and Materiality in the Archives of OGS Crawford (AHRC-CDP with Pitt Rivers Museum)
    • Everyday Food Tasks in Classical Greek Houses: Ceramic vessels and equipment for preparing and cooking food within the house
    • Wasted London: Rubbish and Recycling from the Romans to the Present (AHRC-CDP with Museum of London Archaeology)

    Current doctoral researchers



    I teach a number of undergraduate and postgraduate modules on Roman archaeology and archaeological theory, including The Archaeology of the Roman Empire (UG, Level 5), and The Archaeology of Roman Slavery (MA), as well as contributing to team-taught modules on material culture, heritage, and the ancient world.

    Teaching modules

    • Themes and Concepts in Archaeology (SSHC358S7)
  • Publications




    Book Review

    Book Section

    • Baird, Jennifer (2021) Dura-Europos. In: Kaizer, T. (ed.) A Companion to the Hellenistic and Roman Near East. Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World. Wiley. pp. 295-304. ISBN 9781444339826.
    • Baird, Jennifer (2019) Exposing archaeology: time in archaeological photographs. In: McFadyen, Lesley and Hicks, D. (eds.) Archaeology and Photography: Time, Objectivity and Archive. London, UK: Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781350029682. (In Press)
    • Baird, Jennifer A. (2017) Everyday life in Roman Dura-Europos: the evidence of dress practices. In: Kaizer, T. (ed.) Religion, Society and Culture at Dura-Europos. Yale Classical Studies. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107123793.
    • Baird, Jennifer and Taylor, C. (2016) Ancient Graffiti. In: Ross, J.I. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Graffiti and Street Art. New York, U.S.: Routledge. pp. 17-26. ISBN 9780367335977.
    • Baird, Jennifer A. and Taylor, C. (2016) Ancient graffiti. In: Ross, J. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Graffiti and Street Art. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. pp. 17-26. ISBN 9781138792937.
    • Baird, Jennifer (2015) Private graffiti? Scratching the walls of houses at Dura-Europos. In: Benefiel, R. and Keegan, P. (eds.) Inscriptions in the Private Sphere in the Greco-Roman World. Brill Studies in Greek and Roman Epigraphy. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. pp. 11-31. ISBN 9789004307124.
    • Baird, Jennifer A. (2013) Religion and ritual. In: Clark, P. (ed.) Oxford Handbook of Cities in World History. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 181-196. ISBN 9780199589531.
    • Baird, Jennifer A. (2012) Dura deserta: the death and afterlife of Dura-Europos. In: Christie, N. and Augenti, A. (eds.) Vrbes Extinctae: Archaeologies of Abandoned Classical Towns. Farnham, UK: Ashgate. pp. 307-330. ISBN 9780754665625.
    • Baird, Jennifer A. (2012) Constructing Dura-Europos, ancient and modern. In: Lafrenz Samuels, K. and Totten, D. (eds.) Making Roman Places, Past and Present. Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplemental Series. Rhode Island, U.S.: Journal of Roman Archaeology. pp. 34-49. ISBN 9781887829892.
    • Baird, Jennifer A. (2012) Graffiti at Dura-Europos: a contextual approach. In: Baird, Jennifer A. and Taylor, C. (eds.) Ancient Graffiti in Context. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 49-68. ISBN 9780415653527.
    • Baird, Jennifer A. (2012) L’habitat d’époque romaine à Europos-Doura: replacer les artéfacts en contexte. In: Leriche, P. and Coqueugniot, G. and De Pontbriand, S. (eds.) Europos-Doura Varia 1. Bibliothèque archéologique et historique. Beyrouth: Institut français du Proche-Orient. pp. 231-240. ISBN 9782351593752.
    • James, S. and Baird, Jennifer A. and Strutt, K. (2012) Magnetometry survey of Dura’s Roman military base and vicinity. In: Leriche, P. and Coqueugniot, G. and De Pontbriand, S. (eds.) Europos-Doura Varia 1. Bibliothèque archéologique et historique. Beyrouth: Institut français du Proche-Orient. pp. 111-116. ISBN 9782351593752.
    • Baird, Jennifer A. (2011) The Houses of Dura-Europos: Archaeology, Archive, and Assemblage. In: Hoffman, G. and Brody, L. (eds.) Dura-Europos: Crossroads of Antiquity. Boston, U.S.: McMullan Museum. pp. 235-250.
    • Baird, Jennifer A. (2010) The graffiti of Dura-Europos: a contextual approach. In: Baird, Jennifer A. and Taylor, C. (eds.) Ancient Graffiti in Context. Routledge Studies in Ancient History. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415878890.
    • Baird, Jennifer A. and Taylor, C. (2010) Ancient graffiti in context: introduction. In: Baird, Jennifer A. and Taylor, C. (eds.) Ancient Graffiti In Context. Routledge Studies in Ancient History. New York: Routledge. pp. 1-19. ISBN 9780415878890.
    • Baird, Jennifer A. (2010) City: Roman urbanism. In: Gagarin, M. (ed.) The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 161-165. ISBN 9780195170726.
    • Baird, Jennifer A. (2007) Shopping, eating and drinking at Dura-Europos: reconstructing contexts. In: Lavan, L. and Swift, E. and Putzeys, T. (eds.) Objects In Context, Objects In Use: Material Spatiality In Late Antiquity. Late Antique Archaeology. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. pp. 413-437. ISBN 9789004165502.
    • Baird, Jennifer A. (2007) The bizarre bazaar: early excavations in the Roman East and problems of nomenclature. In: Croxford, B. and Ray, N. and Roth, R. and White, N. (eds.) TRAC '06: Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference Proceedings. Oxford, UK: Oxbow Books. pp. 34-42. ISBN 9781842172643.