Iron mining in the Tyrrhenian Sea (A-5-4-2)


The Topoi dissertation project A-5-4-2 constitutes the physical-geographical part of the interdisciplinary research project (A-5-4) Iron mining and smelting in the (northern) Tyrrhenian Sea. The dissertation focuses on a landscape-archaeological perspective on human–environment interactions on Elba Island (Tyrrhenian Sea; Tuscany, Italy) during the period of pre-industrial iron smelting (5th century BCE– 1st century BCE/CE and 10th to 13th century CE).

Honores inauditi (C-6-8-1)


This Ph.D. project focuses on the display of statues in public spaces in Sicily from the Hellenistic to the Late Antique period. The aim of this research project is a comprehensive synthetic study of the honorary practice in Sicily, including an assessment of all relevant features: inscriptions, bases, and sculptural remains. Particular focus is on reconstructing the spatial and socio-historical context of the honorary monuments.

Iron, landscape and humans on Elba in 1st millennium BCE (A-5-4-1)


The doctoral project A-5-4-1 represents the archaeological part of the interdisciplinary Topoi research project (A-5-4) Iron mining and smelting in the (northern) Tyrrhenian Sea. The dissertation deals beside the topography and chronology of iron smelting sites also with the impact of iron mining and smelting on the landscape of Elba Island in the 1st millennium BCE. In addition, it concentrates on a diachronic investigation of the antique mining work/slavery and on an economic historical classification of the Elban iron production in the Mediterranean context.

On the forum. Use of Public Space in Ancient Cities of Italy (C-6-1-1)


This Ph.D. project examined the usage of public space in Italic cities and focuses on the pragmatic dimension of architecture. By doing that certain structures of pits found within italic fora are being used to analyse architectural consequences for various perceptions like acoustics, climate control or movement behavior.

Bathing Culture and the Development of Urban Space (C-6-8)

Research project

In seven field seasons, carried out jointly with the University of Oxford, this research project investigated the development of two bathing complexes at Pompeii and their role in its urban development. The fieldwork results are contextualized within an overarching focus on the multifaceted phenomenon of cityscaping. This project contributes, beyond Pompeii and bathing culture, to current debates on the urbanization of Italy and the sociocultural, economic and political conditions, influences, and agents of this process.

Water Management of Ancient Cities on Sicily (A-3-7)

Research project

This project initially aimed at investigating water management of ancient cities in Sicily, adopting an interdisciplinary, diachronic, and comparative approach. Because of the limited time span of this project (2014-2017), focus was, first, quickly restricted on the water management of bathing facilities and, second, slightly shifted to include regions outside Sicily.

Sense of place and identity in the prehistoric Mediterranean Islands (B-4-COFUND-1)

Third-party funded project

Islands have a distinct “sense of place”: studies of present-day island communities indicate that their perceived physical containment, which is felt particularly on small islands, results in strong place identification or in an “island identity”.  As an archaeologist, Helen Dawson is interested in finding evidence for such place-identification in the past. The smaller islands surrounding Sicily, with their rich archaeological record, provided ideal case studies to test these ideas – from their initial colonisation during the Neolithic to their becoming integrated in wider trading and inter-cultural networks during the Bronze Age (ca. 5500-900 BCE).

Roms "Größe" (B-2-1)

Research project

This project explored the question of what factors led to an imperial building project being judged as megalomaniacal or not. The research project then focused particularly on Imperial Rome and builds on the Palatine Hill project (DAI).