Postdoctoral position on Roman-Palmyrene funerary portraits (1.0 FTE)

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 20 Mar 2022

Applications are invited for a fully funded, two-year postdoc position within the research project “Mortuary Archaeology of the Roman East - MARE”, financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and led by dr. Lidewijde de Jong.

In collaboration with the other project members, you will work on your own project “Familiar Faces: on the ritual function of Palmyrene portraits”. Funerary portraiture was a popular trend in the Roman world, although unevenly distributed. These portraits were meant to adorn the graves, and could be closely associated with corpses. While the physical body disintegrated, the portrait preserved or altered a version of the deceased, thus reproducing views on the body, social persona, and passage after death. You will investigate how funerary portraiture built bridges between the realm of the living and of the dead, and the role of the portrait in funerary ritual. The dataset is the small collection of portraits from Roman Palmyra of which the original placement in the tomb can be reconstructed. All elements of these portraits will be digitized, including the associated epigraphic and material evidence. The portraits (mid 1st-3rd century CE) are examined in the context of earlier visual culture in Palmyrene tombs, as well as the end of the portrait habit.

An outline of the complete project is available at:

The post-doc researcher will be asked to:

• complete two articles on the ritual function of Palmyrene funerary portraits
• reconstruct the archaeological context of the portraits in close collaboration with the principal investigator Dr. L. de Jong
• develop the visual/iconographic components of the project’s digital database, in collaboration with the CIT department and the project’s external advisors
• help other project members explore theoretical approaches to (ancient) art
• coordinate the organization of a workshop on current theoretical approaches to ancient art and visual culture.

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