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Enquiries related to PhD research in the Department of Classical Studies at The Open University should be addressed to Ursula Rothe (

Shirley Elderfield is a part-time Research Student at the Open University, working across the departments of Religious Studies and Classical Studies. Having completed an MA in Classical Studies on the oracle of Delphi, she is now continuing her research on Greek oracles with an interdisciplinary PhD on sensory experience at the oracle of Zeus at Dodona in north-western Greece. A study of the ancient textual sources will be used together with an evaluation of the material remains and objects connected with the sanctuary in order to formulate an assessment of sensory experience at the oracle site. This research will use a sensory studies approach and embrace the concept of ‘intersensoriality’ to evaluate the ways in which the different senses relate to and interplay with each other. In this context, a material culture methodology is key to understanding the function of the material objects and how their relationship both to other objects and the individual helps to create sensory experience.

Adam Parker is a part-time PhD Student in Classical Studies at the Open University, researching the archaeology of magic in Roman Britain. This research is a material culture-led project which aims to investigate the vast corpus of artefacts which can be described as magical and assess it in terms of four key questions: In which contexts were magical objects used? Are there differences between different regions of Roman Britain? Are there changes over time? Are there links between objects, practices and specific groups in society? The results of these four key questions will feed into a wider discussion regarding the role and function of magic in Britain during the Roman period.

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