skip to main content
Department of Classics
University of Mississippi

Archive for the ‘Archaeology’ Category

DiBiasie-Sammons receives College of Liberal Arts New Scholar Award in Humanities

Posted on: May 10th, 2021 by mpranger

Professional photo of Dr. DiBiasie-Sammons


The Department of Classics is proud to announce that Assistant Professor Jacqueline DiBiasie-Sammons has been chosen by the College of Liberal Arts as the 2021 recipient of the Dr. Mike L. Edmonds New Scholar Award in Humanities. This award recognizes faculty who are within six years of their first tenure-track appointment and have demonstrated exemplary performance in research, scholarship, and/or creative achievement; recipients have significantly enhanced the scholarly reputation of the College and University through exceptional contributions to their disciplines and demonstrated a positive impact on the success of their department.

Three students: Arianna shines a flashlight on an ancient plastered wall as Mweyeria observes; Madeleine approaches with notebooks to record.

Summer 2018 students at work in a Roman house in Herculaneum.

Dr. DiBiasie-Sammons has just completed her fourth year as an assistant professor, and has quickly become a research leader in the Department of Classics, working in the exciting area of ancient graffiti. She is the field director and technology supervisor of the Ancient Graffiti Project (AGP), which has undertaken to document and digitize all of the ancient graffiti from Pompeii and Herculaneum, and to produce new critical editions of the graffiti in a publicly accessible online database ( Graffiti, produced as they were by people of all social classes, genders, occupation, and ages, have enormous potential to open new windows into Roman culture. Dr. DiBiasie-Sammons and her colleagues are building a robust and user-friendly online database, that allows open access to these “windows” to scholars all over the world. To date seven UM undergraduates have participated in the AGP’s fieldwork.

The graffiti-centered fieldwork is also the starting point for much of Dr. DiBiasie-Sammons’ more traditional article-based scholarship: among her eight published journal articles and book chapters are cultural analyses based on the distribution and typology of inscriptions, methodological articles, and revisions and reinterpretations of known inscriptions based both on new technological approaches and on archival work. Her most recent work focuses on the particular category of charcoal graffiti, scribblings in a material so delicate that they are quickly destroyed when exposed to the elements. For this project, Dr. DiBiasie-Sammons has received research support for archival work from the Getty Research Institute to access the field notebooks of the original excavators in the Getty’s collections.

In October 2019, Dr. DiBiasie-Sammons and Dr. Holly Sypniewski of Millsaps College co-chaired the Symposium Campanum at the Villa Vergiliana in Cuma, Italy, hosting a slate of more than twenty scholars from ten countries, presenting research on inscriptions of the Bay of Naples region. The symposium was a grand success, and Dr. DiBiasie-Sammons leadership of the group clearly signals the strong position she is mapping out in the world of ancient epigraphy.

Though still only six years out from her 2015 University of Texas-Austin PhD, Dr. DiBiasie-Sammons is making her scholarly mark on a variety of fronts, and on a truly international stage. Her accomplishments are already impressive, and she has a strong, innovative, and multi-faceted research program that promises to flourish for many years to come. Congratulations to Dr. DiBiasie-Sammons!

Dr. Jacqueline DiBiasie Sammons and UM undergrads in Herculaneum

Posted on: August 6th, 2018 by mpranger

Assistant professor of Classics Dr. Jacqueline DiBiasie Sammons and three UM undergrads, Arianna Kitchens, Madeleine McCracken, and Mweyeria Offord spent part of Summer 2018 hard at work locating and digitally documenting graffiti in the ancient city of Herculaneum. Dr. DiBiasie Sammons is the field director for the Ancient Graffiti Project and will be taking more students to continue the project’s work in Pompeii in Summer 2019. The Mike and Mary McDonnell Endowment for the Study of Classics helped fund all three students’ work on the project.

Read more about Dr. BiBiasie Sammons and the Ancient Graffiti Project here.

Professor and three students in University of Mississippi t-shirts pose in front of ancient Herculaneum.

L to r: Dr. DiBiasie Sammons, Madeleine McCracken, Arianna Kitchens, Mweyeria Offord.

Three students: Arianna shines a flashlight on an ancient plastered wall as Mweyeria observes; Madeleine approaches with notebooks to record.

The students at work in a Roman house in Herculaneum.

Horn Lake High School Visits for International Archaeology Day, 10/19/17

Posted on: October 26th, 2017 by mpranger

The Department’s archaeologists, Dr. Aileen Ajootian and Dr. Jacqueline DiBiasie-Sammons, hosted Latin students from Horn Lake High School in DeSoto County for explorations of Classical archaeology in connection with International Archaeology Day this October. Students studied the Robinson collection at the University Museum, discussed campus architecture and monuments during a walking tour of campus, and tried their hands at Latin graffiti in (but not on!) Bryant Hall.

Dr. Hilary Becker named UM’s Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher of the Year

Posted on: October 13th, 2015 by mpranger

CLA_Humanites_2015posterJoin us for a public lecture celebrating Dr. Becker well-deserved honor on October 28 at 7:00 in Bryant 209.

Dr. Becker will talk about one aspect of her wide-ranging research in Etruscan and Roman archaeology and economic history in this “case study” focused on the trade in pigments in ancient Roman.

A reception will follow in the Farrington Gallery on the first floor of Bryant Hall.

umissinrome x 2

Posted on: June 18th, 2014 by mpranger

This summer saw two (!) groups of University of Mississippi Classics students embark on faculty led study abroad experiences in Rome with Department of Classics faculty.

At Ostia 5/16/14.

At Ostia 5/16/14.

Right after graduation this May, Dr. Molly Pasco-Pranger set off for the Urbs Aeterna with six young women for a Maymester intensive study of Rome and its surrounding area. Covering as much ground as we could in ten “class” days made for some achy feet, but the group reports they appreciated the bodily experience that walking the city gave them and learned more than they could have imagined.  Read more about their adventures at

On the beach at Paestum.

On the beach at Paestum, 6/13/14.

Just as Dr. Pasco-Pranger’s group left Rome, another seven UMiss students, along with a student from Brown University, met Dr. Hilary Becker to begin a month long archaeological field school experience centered on the excavations at S. Omobono.  That group is still in the field, learning a variety archaeological tools and methods and working actively on the site.  They’ve also taken field trips around the city and to Caere, Orvieto and Campania.  Follow the progress of the field school at

We’re excited about these faculty-led opportunities for our students and hope to repeat and expand on them soon!

RESCHEDULED 4/14 Lecture on gladiators in Pompeii by Dr. Stephen Tuck

Posted on: January 30th, 2014 by mpranger

Gladiator graffito from Pompeian tomb.We have been able to reschedule Dr. Tuck’s lecture! Please join the Department of Classics and the Mississippi/Memphis Society of the Archaeological Instititute of America for a public lecture by Dr. Steven L. Tuck of Miami University.  In this lecture,  “Gladiators at Pompeii: Roman Spectacle in a Small Town,” Dr. Tuck takes us to visit a gladiatorial training school and the oldest amphitheater we have from the Roman world, analyzing the ramifications of games for the city and tracing the imagery of gladiators at Pompeii.  The talk will be Monday, April 14th, 5:30 p.m. in Bryant 209. Please call 662-915-7097 or 662-915-7020 if you need more information or special assistance.


11/13 Lecture on the Athenian Acropolis by Dr. Nancy Klein

Posted on: October 30th, 2013 by mpranger

Archaic pediment-Athenian AcropolisPlease join the Department of Classics and the Mississippi/Memphis Society of the Archaeological Instititute of America for a public lecture by Dr. Nancy Klein, of Texas A&M University. Dr. Klein’s lecture,  “Before the Parthenon: the Architecture of the Archaic Acropolis,” traces the “life-history” of the buildings on the Athenian Acropolis that predate the Periclean redesign in the 5th century.  The talk will be Wednesday, November 13th at 7:30 P.M. in Bryant 209. Please call 662-915-1152 or 662-915-7020 if you need more information or special assistance.

Robinson collection reinstallation

Posted on: October 30th, 2013 by mpranger

The University of Mississippi Museum has undertaken a major reinstallation of the David M. Robinson Memorial Collection.  The Collection is one of the most extensive Greco-Roman collections in the south, including approximately 2,200 Greek and Roman artifacts ranging from sculpture and pottery to coins, inscription, architectural fragments and more.  The reinstallation project will introduce a contemporary redesign of the collection in four 1930s neoclassical museum gallery spaces and will allow more of the collection to be on display.

The older wing of the University of Mississippi Museum will house the new installation of the Robinson Colection.

The older wing of the University of Mississippi Museum will house the new installation of the Robinson Collection.

The project commenced in the Summer of 2013, but the Museum is still in need of resources and partners to complete the world-class reinstallation the collection deserves.  If you’d like to learn more about the reinstallation project or make a donation to the David M. Robinson Memorial Collection Conservation Fund, please contact Ms. Melanie Munns, Special Project Manager (, Ms Marti Funke, Collections Manager ( or Ms. Angela Barlow, Development Officer (


10/24: Lecture on the Pantheon by Dr. Mary T. Boatwright

Posted on: October 22nd, 2013 by mpranger

Please join the Department of Classics for a public lecture by Dr. Mary T. Boatwright, of the Duke University. Dr. Boatwright’s lecture,  “Reading the Pantheon,” investigatesThe Ancient Roman Pantheon the familiar yet enigmatic inscription of the Pantheon leads to exploration of what types of evidence we can use – and how far – when examining Roman monuments.  This illustrated talk reaffirms the fascination of Roman history even while clarifying many controversial aspects of one of its most iconic buildings. The talk will be Thursday, October 24th at 7:30 P.M. in Bryant 209. Please call 662-915-1152 or 662-915-7020 if you need more information or special assistance.

10/09: Lecture on Etruscan religion by Dr. Jean MacIntosh Turfa

Posted on: October 7th, 2013 by



Please join the Department of Classics for a public lecture by Dr. Jean MacIntosh Turfa, of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology. Dr. Turfa’s lecture is entitled,  “An Etruscan Book of Omens Revealed: the Brontoscopic Calendar”. The talk will be Wednesday, October 9th at 5:15 P.M. in Bryant 209. Please call 662-915-1152 or 662-915-7020 if you need more information or special assistance.