The sites were so well chosen to give us a gradually increasing knowledge throughout the week, and Gillian exploited this perfectly, with references to what we had already seen or would see in a day or two.
Dr Gillian Shepherd
Gillian Shepherd PhD is Director of the Trendall Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies, La Trobe, Australia. She specialises in the Greek colonisation of Italy and Sicily.
Asked to name her favourite sites/ places on tour she replied:
Paestum (which we visit during our Pompeii tours) is a particular favourite of mine, because of its three magnificent Greek temples and one my favourite tombs (my research is on burial customs, so I am afraid I do have a list of favourite tombs) – the Tomb of the Diver, a unique example of a 5th century BC painted tomb with a cheery depiction of a diver and a happy drinking party.
Siracusa (in South East Sicily) is another favourite– I go there most years, and have watched the old town on the island of Ortygia (where we will be staying) being restored over the years from a state of grand dilapidation to its former glory. The main piazza must now be one of the most beautiful in Italy – when I first went there, it was covered in tarmac and used as a public car park. The piazza also contains Siracusa’s cathedral (pictured above centre), my favourite Sicilian building. It is actually a 5th century BC Greek temple: look carefully beyond the baroque façade and you will see the Greek columns peeking out.
Dr Shepherd researches in Ancient Greek colonisation, tracking cultural self-definition, emerging hierarchies, and relations with the mother city and the indigenous population through examination of burials, sanctuaries and dedications. She is interested in the historiography of colonisation, especially the effect of the British empire on approaches to ancient colonial practice. In her role as Institute Museum Curator, she is involved with the Canopic Jar Project and the casting project with the IRC (University of Birmingham) on ancient metal vases, for which a metal replica of a Rhodian Wild Goat style stemmed dish in the Instititute's collection has been made.
"The Advance of the Greek: Greece, Great Britain and Archaeological Empires" in H. Hurst and S. Owen (eds) Ancient Colonization. Analogy, Similarity and Difference. London (2005) 23-44
"Dead Men tell no Tales: Ethnic Diversity in Sicilian Colonies and the Evidence of the Cemeteries" Oxford Journal of Archaeology(2005) 24.2, 115-36.
"Greeks bearing Gifts: Religious Relationships between Sicily and Greece in the Archaic Period" in C.J. Smith & J. Serrati (eds) Sicily from Aeneas to Augustus. Edinburgh (2000) 55-70
S. Crawford and G. Shepherd (eds) Children, Childhood and Society. IAA Interdisciplinary Series vol. I. Oxford, 2007.