Research course

Greek and Roman Material Culture

Open University · Department of Classical Studies

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent)

Months of entry


Course content

The Classical Studies discipline has distinctive expertise in the material culture of the ancient world. Staff research in this area covers a wide range of topics, including votive offerings from ancient sanctuaries, the archaeology of Etruscan Italy, dress and Roman funerary monuments. The members of the Material Culture research cluster share an interest in placing the objects, sites and monuments of antiquity into their broader social contexts, identifying how they have shaped (and been shaped by) the ideas and practices of different cultures. Our work is marked by a commitment to interdisciplinary activities, whether this be ‘reading’ images alongside literary texts, or applying anthropological and scientific approaches to the study of the classical past. We are involved in a number of national and international collaborations, and organise excavations and conferences with a range of partner institutions.

We welcome applications in areas which correspond with current staff research interests. We look for detailed and well thought-out proposals, which set out specific research questions and outline the originality of your topic or approach. We would encourage you to discuss your ideas informally with us before submitting an application.

Potential research projects

  • The archaeology of Roman Italy and Etruria
  • The archaeology of Rome’s northern provinces
  • Pre-Roman Italy and the Etruscans
  • Greek and Roman art, especially its social and religious uses
  • Roman funerary traditions and monuments
  • The classical body
  • The reception of Greek and Roman art
  • Dress in the Roman Empire

Current/recent research projects

  • Roman seal boxes
  • Non-elite housing in Roman Italy
  • The social significance of curse tablets in the Latin West

Potential supervisors

Department specialisms

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website for more information.

Qualification and course duration


full time
36 months
distance learning
variable months
part time
72 months


distance learning
variable months
full time
15 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

+44 (0)1908 653247