I am an archaeologist specializing in religion, mythology, collective identities, and ancient numismatics in the Roman provinces. I earned a Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2016), following a M.A. at UNC Chapel Hill (2010), and an undergraduate degree from The George Washington University (2008; majors: classical humanities, archaeology, history). I have excavated across the Roman world, from England to Israel, most recently as a field and publication project member on the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon (Israel). Since 2014, I have been a Lecturer in Classical Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where I teach a variety of courses on ancient civilization, archaeology, mythology, and in Latin (see teaching for syllabi and more info).
RESEARCH: My research explores the material role that mythology, religion, and cult played in articulating political, cultural, and ethnic identities in ancient communities. I am currently working on a monograph considering the material ways that cities in the Hellenistic through Late Antique southern Levant engaged with Greco-Roman and local mythological traditions. The book explores how these communities articulated political and cultural assertions about their pasts and identities in the public sphere, particularly on civic coinage. Numismatic iconography is the lens through which I explore ancient identities elsewhere: I am currently at work on several articles considering the intersection between myth, cult, and coinage in the Roman Empire. In addition, I am developing upcoming projects on female founders across the Mediterranean, and on the imperial cult in the Roman provinces.
DIGITAL: Two current projects engage with digital approaches to the past. I direct (with Sean P. Burrus, UMich) the online project WIRE: Women in the Roman East. WIRE seeks to collect, curate, and provide resources for the research and exploration of women’s lived experiences in the Roman East, preserved in ancient materials from inscriptions to coins, sculpture to burials. The database is accessible to a range of audiences in addition to specialists, and includes pedagogical tools for integrating WIRE and its materials into the classroom, and for undergraduate research. The database can be used to investigate many different aspects of the social, political, personal, and religious lives of women. I am also developing The Digital Pausanias Project, an annotated and interactive text and map of Pausanias’ Description of Greece. DPP will allow users to explore the urban, natural, and imagined landscapes of Greece through maps, annotated landscapes, images, and supplemental material attached to annotations of Pausanias’ text; the project is further designed to be student-centered, integrating undergraduate research in order to generate content and allow students to practice research skills while contributing to a public resource. Students in a spring 2018 course will pilot tools for the project.
Contact: rlleblan AT uncg.edu