I study ancient texts carved and painted on stone and other durable materials (epigraphy). The texts include official inscriptions, epitaphs, graffiti, amulets, and curse tablets, primarily in Greek, Egyptian, and Aramaic. I use advanced digital tools to prepare facsimiles, editions and translations of inscriptions while exploring their historical context. My research has taken me to museums and ancient sites around the world including fieldwork in Greece and Egypt and contributed to the history of religion and magic in the eastern Mediterranean.
Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum
According to its mission-statement, the SEG “systematically collects newly published Greek inscriptions as well as publications on previously known documents. It presents complete Greek texts of all new inscriptions with a critical apparatus; it summarizes new readings, interpretations, and studies of known inscriptions.”
Greek graffito from an Egyptian temple of the god Ptah at Karnak (Thebes), currently under study in collaboration with the Centre Franco-Égyptien d’Étude des Temples de Karnak. Read more about the project here.
Greek epilepsy amulet from the Near East of the early Roman period. The text, now in the British Library, is inscribed on a thin sheet of silver and would have been rolled up and worn on the body of the owner, Alexander alias “the Macedonian,” possibly named after Alexander the Great. The amulet itself, and some “divine names,” are invoked to protect Alexander from epilepsy, an illness that is in turn adjured to stay away from him in all its forms. The listing of these forms reveals popular beliefs about the origins of epilepsy as coming, for example, from contact with tombs, baths, ill words and deeds of human malefactors.
Epitaph from Roman Jerusalem with a Graeco-Hebrew curse. This Greek inscription on an ossuary (stone casket for the repose of bones) from a burial cave in Jerusalem for Marieame (a Jewish name related to Miriam and Mary) curses violators of the sanctity of the burial with blindness, adapting Deuteronomy 28:28. However the key word for blindness itself is in Hebrew transliterated into Greek. Read a recent discussion of the text here.
Lead pendant from Roman Jerusalem. This enigmatic object was found in the excavations of Dame Kathleen Kenyon and probably belongs to a decorated mounting for a piece of jewelry. The Greek inscription Mari may give a personal name of Aramaic origin, or an Aramaic title (similar to Mr.) or divine name. DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266427.001.0001