Vita Romana: at the baths of Aeclanum graphic novella
In my role as a Public Archaeology Coordinator at Roman Aeclanum (2017-2019), I worked on a variety of outreach materials to promote the site and through games and illustrations. Each excavation season, we would put together some fabulous Open Days, full of activities, lectures, games and illustrations, seen this Youtube video made by a local news outlet in 2018!
The final project for the public engagement programme was a comic book I developed and illustrated Vita Romana: at the baths of Aeclanum.
Vita Romana is a bespoke graphic novella that illustrates an in-depth exploration into Roman daily life. Our story follows a young patrician pre-teen, Neratia Prima, and her family as they deal with daily life in a Roman colonia in the mid-second century AD. Neratia learns about the myth of the Niobids through a statue found at the baths.
Aeclanum is directed by the University of Edinburgh’s Dr. Ben Russell and Dr. Girolamo F. De Simone, director of the Apolline Project, with the support of the British School at Rome, the Comune di Mirabella Eclano, and the Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per le province di Salerno ed Avellino.
Download your copy here:
Exhibition at Cambridge’s Museum of Classical Archaeology and Art
Opening to the public November 3 2020 – January 30th 2021, colleagues from Cambridge and I worked on putting together an exhibition which looked at the uses of art in archaeology as it coincided with our research into public outreach and the impact of ancient cities on modern communities.
Graphic Novella Creative Team:
Writing: Ambra Ghiringhelli is a PhD candidate in Classics (Ancient History) at the University of Edinburgh, and has recently completed a SGSAH-sponsored internship at Glasgow Women’s Library focusing on knowledge dissemination and outreach. Her interests beyond research include, among others, creative writing, social history, and public engagement.
Illustration and Development: Zofia Guertin is a PhD candidate in Classics (Ancient History) at the University of St. Andrews where she studies Egyptian cult spaces and material culture in the Greco-Roman world. She is passionate about public engagement with ancient history, writing a travel-archaeology blog and making art and illustrations.
Book design: Josef Souček is one of the curators of the archaeological collection of the National Musem in Prague. His academic interests lie in Roman wall painting and architecture, as well as digital archaeology, but among his hobbies are graphic design and 3D modelling – both skills heavily employed in the public archaeology project in Aeclanum.
“Closing the Circle: the lifecycle of a comic-styled public archaeology project“
In April 2021, I presented a video for the “What have the Ancients ever done for us?” Digital conference hosted by the Classical Association. With a few illustrations for example, I summarise our processes in Aeclanum from project aims, methodology, outcomes and conclusions here: