Department of Classics

University of Mississippi

Hilary Becker

A.B., Bryn Mawr CollegeFirst choice-detail
M.A. and Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Hilary Becker’s research focuses upon the archaeology of the Mediterranean basin and in particular on the economy of the Romans and Etruscans. She has published articles dealing with Etruscan property, archives, settlement patterns, and Etruscan economy, as well as Roman women in the commercial workspace. Hilary Becker co-edited, along with Margarita Gleba, the volume Votives, Places and Rituals in Etruscan Religion (Brill 2009). She is currently writing a book entitled, Commerce in color: Pigment shops, pigmentarii, and the concerns of supplying the Roman empire with pigments.

Hilary is a veteran of fieldwork in Italy and is at present a principal investigator of the collaborative project in the Area Sacra di S. Omobono in Rome operated jointly by the University of Michigan (USA) and the Università della Calabria (Italy). Student blogs from the field school at S. Omobono directed by Dr. Becker in 2014 can be found here:


Hilary Becker’s curriculum vitae

Roman pigments


Selected Awards and Grants

Humanities Teacher of the Year, University of Mississippi. 2015.

Cora Lee Graham Award for Outstanding Teaching of Freshmen. 2015. University of Mississippi. (One awarded annually).

The Arthur and Joyce Gordon Fellowship in Latin epigraphy at the Center for Epigraphical and Palaeographical Studies at The Ohio State University. July 2014.

Fulbright Full Grant to Italy for 2004-2005.


A selection of recent and upcoming publications:

Forthcoming, 2016. “Luxuria prolapsa est: Etruscan wealth and decadence,” In Blackwell Companion to the Etruscans. Edited by A. Carpino and S. Bell. London: Blackwell.

Forthcoming. “Roman women in the urban economy: occupations, social connections, and gendered exclusions” in Women in Antiquity: Real Women Across the Ancient World. Edited by J. Turfa and S. Budin. London: Routledge.

Forthcoming. “Economy in the Archaic and Classical Periods, 580-450 BC.” In Handbook of Etruscology. Edited by A. Naso. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Forthcoming. “Economy in the Late Classical and Hellenistic Periods, 450-250 BC.” In Handbook of Etruscology. Edited by A. Naso. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Forthcoming. “Economy in Etruria and Rome, 250-89 BC.” In Handbook of Etruscology. Edited by A. Naso. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Forthcoming. “Evidence for Etruscan archives: Tracking the epigraphic habit in tombs, the sacred sphere, and at home.” In Etruscan Literacy in its Social Context. Accordia and the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London.

2013. “Etruscan Political Systems and Law.” In The Etruscan World. Edited by J. Turfa, 351-72. London: Routledge.

2013. R. Beeston and H. Becker. “Investigation of Ancient Roman Pigments by Portable X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy and Polarized Light Microscopy.” In Archaeological Chemistry. American Chemical Society Symposium Series. Edited by R. A. Armitage and J. Burton, 19–41. Washington, D.C.: American Chemical Society.

2012. “The current state of artifacts excavated at S. Omobono and a reappraisal of previously excavated materials.” In Internet Archaeology.

2009. Co-editor with M. Gleba, Votives, Places and Rituals in Etruscan Religion. Leiden: Brill.


A selection of recent conference papers and invited lectures

“Pigment Prices: Costs, Fraud, and the Concerns of Roman Pigmentarii,” at the 117th meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America. San Francisco, CA. January 6-9, 2016.

“The science of Roman wall painting: Pliny, pigments, and polychromy.” Dorinda J. Oliver Lecturer. Trinity College (Hartford, CT), Hartford chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America. November 9, 2015.

“The economy of color in ancient Rome: A case study of the pigment trade.” Annual Humanities Teacher of the Year lecture, Mississippi Humanities Council. October 28, 2015.

“Communal standards: Coinage and weight systems in Etruria” at the research workshop, “Monetization in the Ancient World”. University of Auckland. Auckland, New Zealand. August 26, 2014.

“The Changing Face of South Etruria,” in the panel, “New synergies? The impact of the Roman conquest of Italy on settlement and society” at the Eleventh Roman Archaeology Conference (RAC). University of Reading. Reading, England.March 28th-30th 2014.

“A pigment shop in Ancient Rome.” Lecture followed by a fresco painting practicum. Millsaps College. October 4, 2013.

“The Science of Roman wall painting: Pliny, pigments, and polychromy.” Oxford Science Café. Oxford, MS. April 23, 2013.

“Boundaries and integration: the social, political, and sacral mechanics of Etruscan markets,” at “Frontiers in the Iron Age Archaeology of Europe” hosted by Magdalene College and the McDonald Institute, Cambridge. September 20th-22nd, 2013.

“Colors and Commerce: Pigment Shops in the Ancient World,” co-presented with Laura Wilke (Oberlin ’10) at the 112th meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America. San Antonio, TX. January 08, 2011.

Hilary Becker-Orvieto