Research Projects

  • (C-6-1) Raumnutzung und Raumbeanspruchung: Multivalenz des öffentlichen Raumes

    The pragmatic arrangement of multivalent public space which continues to characterize present-day urban and architectural planning also was a major challenge for ancient cities. The aim of this research project was to examine the arrangement of public spaces concerning their use as multivalent spaces, referring to the example of Rome and selected Roman cities from the age of the middle republic to late antiquity.

  • (C-6-2) Urban planning and urban develpment in Jordan (4th century BC – 4th century AD)

    This concerted project investigated the two urban centers Petra and Gadara and their surrounding countryside using comparative formulations and methods in seeking to determine the causes of similar and dissimilar developments and phenomena. In order to gain an understanding of the importance of the interaction between environmental and social factors in the formation and historical development of the urban form, interaction between several disciplines is required (e.g. geography, topography, geology, meteorology, technical sciences, ecology, demography, sociology, building law, building economy and cultural studies).

  • (C-6-3) Christian urban discourse. The city as image and argument in the Patristic texts of the 2nd - 5th century AD

    This project analysed urban semantics in patristic texts dealt with the cultural horizons of early Christians, a religious, cultural and social fringe group in the Roman Empire. The special focus was on the considerable distance towards different aspects of ancient urban life of which Christians were accused by the Romans. This subject was approached from various angles, following the assumption that the complex phenomenon of Christian urban semantics and their space-shaping consequences could be studied only through investigating a combination of several factors.

  • (C-6-4) Antioch. Rhetorical modeling of a metropolis in late antiquity

    This project dealt with the image of the city created by the Christian preacher John Chrysostom (ca. 349–407) in its relation to the urban context. The literary model of the Syrian metropolis Antioch presented in Chrysostom’s homilies and writings does not intend to give an accurate depiction of the historical polis of Antioch in the fourth century, but reflects the author’s religious, social and political preoccupations and visions.

  • (C-6-5) Intellectual spaces in narratives of the city. Rome and Carthage in the Roman empire and late antiquity

    During the era of Roman republic, Punic Carthage was not only the aemula Romae in the sense of political hostility and rivalry in the struggle for supremacy in the Western mediterranean. In Greek and Latin texts which are, with very few exceptions, written by either Roman or pro-Roman authors, Carthage is consequently depicted as a city that is on the one hand the non-Roman ‚Other‘ par excellence. On the other hand Carthage bears a number of similarities to Rome, to whose destiny it is fatally linked.

  • (C-6-6) The city from below – urbs satirica

    By studying the Ancient Rome this project investigated processes by which urban spaces were actively appropriated in ancient cultures. The scope lies on examining the characteristic cityscaping of the lower strata. As the source material is often elitist in nature, great caution must be exercised in preparing a view “from below”. Access to these marginalized strata can nevertheless be obtained through a dedicated study of Roman satire.

  • (C-6-7) Bell sound and public space in the Middle Ages

    In the medieval city in Central Europe the public and public cultures were not only shaped by institutionalized competences, but by multimedia signs, signals, and their perception. The main topic of this project was the interference of acoustic spheres – as they are created by noise, music and bells sounds – and the constitution of spatial structure and significance (juridical, social, transcendental) in the middle ages.

  • (C-6-8) Bathing Culture and the Development of Urban Space: Case Study Pompei

    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.


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

    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.

  • (C-6-3-1) Late Antique Alexandria as a Contested Urban Space

    The interpretation of the Christian appropriation of Alexandria’s urban topography as the victory of Christianity in the entire Empire was echoed in the triumphalist rhetoric of Nicene ecclesiastical historians. Additionally, it served for a long time to modern historiography as a paradigmatic example of a trend that was assumed to have emerged in the Empire. This perspective, however, has three serious shortcomings of a theoretical-methodological nature which this Ph.D. project is seeking to overcome.

  • (C-6-6-1) The literary representation of Rome and its urban spaces in the two historiographical works of Tacitus

    The aim of this Ph.D. project was to elucidate the specific Tacitean representation of the urbs Roma in comparison to other literary representations and the material Rome of the Tacitean age which as part of a specific construction of past and memory reflects a subjective “Romerlebnis” that exemplifies important aspects of former values and norms.

    In particular, the investigation focused on how Tacitus perceives, presents, connotes and functionalizes the city, its urban spaces and topographies which among others implies questions about thematic, symbolic, characterizing or psychologizing functions that can be identified in the text.


  • (C-6-8-1) Honores inauditi. The display of statues in public space in Sicily from Hellenism to Late Antiquity

    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.

  • (C-6-8-2) Landschaftsarchäologische Evidenzen in Samnium im Kontext der Samnitischen Kriege – Die samnitischen Höhenfestungen und ihr Umland

    This Ph.D. thesis aims at illustrating the historic settlement dynamics of Samnium within the last four centuries BC. Using a GIS, it seeks to identify spatial systems of location and architecture of the so called “hill forts” and to assess the Roman impact on the landscape following conquest.

  • (C-6-8-3) The Prytaneion of the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD – Study of the Symbolical Center of the Polis Under Roman Rule

    This Ph.D. project investigates the continuity of Greek polis institutions during the Roman imperial period and investigates how the political „trappings“ of Greek cities developed under Roman rule. The study focuses on the prytaneion as a building type and the prytanis as an institution  which had a special significance in the context of the polis as symbolic center of the city.