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Research Grants

2006 - present

Diaspora and identity: an integrated archaeological and historical investigation into material life, ethnicity, and diet in the district of Vlooienburg, Amsterdam (AD 1600-1800)

NWO funded research project (2016 - ) supervised by prof. James Symonds (UvA).

In this project two PhD's are involved, one who wil explore the materiality of everyday daily life and work in Vlooienburg, the other will explore the diet, food preparation, and consumption of animal products. A post doc research focuses on the material culture and ethnicity in Amsterdam and The Netherlands. More information about Diaspora and identity project. 

PAN: Portable Antiquities of the Netherlands

NWO funded research project (2016 - ) supervised by prof. dr.  Nico Roymans (VU).

Many metal antiquities are found by citizens, searching arable lands and construction sites with metal-detectors. These antiquities are very valuable for professional archaeologists but they rarely find their way to them. The Portable Antiquities of the Netherlands (PAN) Project will be focusing on creating an online database and making it available to scientists, heritage experts and urban planners.

The sea and land routes of southern Euboia, ca. 4000–1 BC

NWO funded research project (2014 - ) supervised by dr. Jan Paul Crielaard (VU).

Together with three PhD students Jan Paul Crielaard will study in detail one specific region in Greece from the air, on the ground and at sea to find out more about how people in a period of 4,000 years were connected to each other, their gods and the surrounding landscape.

The ultimate goal is to contribute to the current debate about interconnectivity in the ancient Mediterranean. At the end of the project, databases and maps will be made available to local heritage institutions by means of an interactive digital environment.

Paying for All the King's Horses and All the King's Men: A Fiscal History of the Achaemenid Empire

NWO funded Vidi-project (2014 - 2019), supervised by Dr. Kristin Kleber (VU).

A comparative study of Babylonian and Elamite texts in order to write a fiscal history of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550-330 BC). Babylonia and Iran (incl. Elam) are among the first regions where systematic taxation was developed in world history. This research thereby adds a (chronologically) first chapter to the relatively new discipline of fiscal history. Furthermore, the project aims to conduce to answering a longstanding question in ancient Near Eastern studies, namely how the Persians were able to govern their vast territory successfully.

Finding the limits of the limes

NWO funded Vidi-project (2012 - 2017), supervised by Dr. Philip Verhagen (VU).

The Roman conquest and occupation of the Lower Rhine region led to the creation of a system of fortifications of the Rhine border (limes), manned by garrisons that needed food, building materials and other provisions. Little is known about the management and organisation of this socio-economic system, its relation to the military presence in the area, the logistics involved, and its impact on land use and the local populations. A useful instrument for interpreting past landscape development can be found in Spatial Dynamical Modeling which is a computer technique for building rule-based models that will simulate spatial processes - like the development of land use - through time. The Dutch limes zone offers a rich set of archaeological and palaeo-environmental data which can be combined with spatial dynamical modeling to set up scenarios of resource management along the limes, and test these against the archaeological evidence.

website Finding The Limits of Time

Ancient war narrative: a combined discourse-linguistic and narratological approach

NWO funded research project (2010-2016), supervised by prof.dr.  Irene de Jong (UvA) and prof.dr. Caroline Kroon (VU)

This NWO-funded program was led by Prof. Dr. Caroline Kroon and Prof.Dr. Irene de Jong (UvA). VU-scholars Suzanne Adema and Lidewij van Gils held post-docs positions in this project, and David Stienaers worked as a PhD-student (VU), together with PhD-student Niels Koopman (UvA).

Within this program we have expanded and strengthened  a recent and internationally recognized development in Dutch classical scholarship, consisting of an innovative synthesis of modern linguistic and literary approaches. By means of empirical corpus studies, discourse linguistic and narratological methods and concepts were brought together in order to draw the outlines of an interdisciplinary framework for the interpretation of classical literary texts. The individual studies in this project focused on narratorial report, description and speech and thought representation. The texts of the corpus were taken from Ancient Greek and Latin war narrative (Homer, Caesar, Vergil, Sallust, Tacitus), a type of text which is at the core of classical culture.

The combined discourse-linguistic/narratological perspective has enabled us to lay bare more clearly the underlying rhetoric and ideology of these texts, and to open up the way to a new kind of (comparative) stylistic research.

An international workshop on historiographic texts about the battles of Thermopylae (Herodotus) and Cannae (Livy) was organized in October 2014. In this workshop, we discussed the textual strategies of Greek and Latin narrators in their presentation of battles. The results of the workshop will be published in the course of 2017.

Niels Koopman defended his thesis Ancient Greek Ekphrasis  on November 21st 2014 in Amsterdam. (http://dare.uva.nl/record/1/432476).
Suzanne Adema wrote a monograph on speech and thought representation in Latin war narratives. This book, Words of Warriors, will be published in spring 2017 as part of the series Amsterdam Studies in Classical Philology (Brill, Leiden - http://www.brill.com/publications/amsterdam-studies-classical-philology).

A list of further publications and results can be found at the website of NWO:

Hidden lives – public personae. Women in the urban texture of the Roman Empire.

NWO Vidi-project (2007-2012), supervised by prof.dr.  Emily Hemelrijk (UvA).

The project focused on the role of women in the social and political life in the cities of Roman Italy and the western provinces during the first three centuries of the Roman empire. Despite the fact that magistracies and the membership of city councils were the prerogative of men, numerous public statues and inscriptions provide evidence that women played a conspicuous role in the social and public life in these cities.

The project was successfully accomplished with the defense of two theses:

  • Veerle Gaspar, Sacerdotes piae. Priestesses and other female cult officials in the western part of the Roman Empire from the first century B.C. until the third century A.D. (2012).
  • Cristina Murer, Ehrenstatuen für prominente Bürgerinnen. Aufstellungsorte und Funktionswandel statuarischer Ehrungen in kaiserzeitlichen Stadträumen Italiens und Nordafrikas (2013).


Market performance from ancient Babylonia to the modern world

NWO and KNAW funded research project (2007-2012), supervised by prof.dr. Bert van der Spek (VU) and prof.dr. S.J. Koopman, professor of Econometrics (VU).

This research project investigates market performance through the ages by studying the volatility of prices of daily food  in ancient Babylonia, the ancient Mediterranean, medieval and modern Europe and China. The research focuses on the exogenous factors -like war and the interference of the state- that determine the level and oscillation of the prices. Point of departure is a corpus of several thousand commodity prices on cuneiform documents from ancient Babylonia (Iraq).

The results are published in various dissertations and articles and in a volume of the same title in the Routledge Explorations of Economic History (2013). Contributors are assyriologists, ancient historians, economic historians, econometrists from VU University and several other universities all over the world.  The Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient will dedicate a special issue to factor markets in Iraq from 1000 BC to AD 1000.

Article: A History of Market Performance: From Ancient Babylonia to theModern World

Space in ancient Greek literature  

NWO funded research project (2008 - 2014) supervised by prof. dr. Irene de Jong (UvA).

This project, which forms part of the larger project ‘Studies in Ancient Greek Narrative’, analyses the representation of space in ancient Greek narrative texts from a narratological angle, based on the theories of Genette and Bal. Individual project members focus on space in Homer and the Homeric Hymns (Irene de Jong), Hellenistic poetry (Jacqueline Klooster), rhetoric (Mathieu de Bakker), archaic lyric (Jo Heirman), and tragedy (Paul van Uum).

Space in ancient Greek literature. Studies in Ancient Greek Narrative 3 (I.J.F. de Jong ed.), Leiden: Brill), 2012.

Villa landscapes in the Roman North: economy, culture, life-styles

NWO funded research project (2006-2011), supervised by prof.dr. Nico Roymans (VU) and dr. Ton Derks (VU). Aim of the project is to synthesise recent research on villas and villa landscapes in the Northern provinces of the Roman world. The three sub-projects focus on villa development in the northern provinces of the Roman empire, the Roman villa world between Tongres and Cologne, and the funerary culture associated with the northern villa world. A synthesis was published in 2011, which offers an original, multi-dimensional perspective on the social, economic and cultural functioning of villas within the context of the Roman empire. 

Villa landscapes in the Roman North: economy, culture and life-styles (A.M.J. Derks, N.G.A.M. Roymans eds.), Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press), 2011.

The biography of a sandy landscape: cultural history, heritage management and spatial planning in the Southern Netherlands

NWO funded research project (2002-2008), supervised by prof.dr. Nico Roymans (VU).

The aim of this project is to link a landscape biographical approach of the long-term habitation history of a region to heritage policy and spatial planning strategies in modern society.

N. Roymans, F. Gerritsen, C. Van der Heijden, K. Bosma & J. Kolen, Landscape biography as research strategy. The case of the South Netherlands Project, Landscape Research 34.3, 2009, 337-359.