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Professor Stephanie Moser 


Professor Stephanie Moser's photo

Stephanie Moser is a Professor of Archaeology at the University of Southampton.

My work focuses on the representation and reception of the past, and my approach is interdisciplinary and international. Collaborating with researchers in cultural history, art history and the history of science, I examine the construction of ideas and knowledge about ancient ancestors that are generated through images, museum displays and art. This theme has been explored in my projects on the depiction of human evolution, the representation of ancient Egypt, antiquarian and archaeological illustration, and reception theory (the investigation of how audiences engage with the past). In addition to these topics, I have worked on the delineation of methods for collaborative practice with source communities in archaeology, most notably with the Quseir Heritage Project in Egypt.

Included in my published works are the books Ancestral Images - The iconography of human antiquity (Cornell 1998), Wondrous Curiosities - Ancient Egypt at the British Museum (Chicago 2006), Designing Antiquity - Owen Jones, Ancient Egypt and the Crystal Palace (Yale 2012), and Painting Antiquity - Ancient Egypt in the art of Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Edward Poynter and Edwin Long (Oxford 2020). With Sam Smiles I edited Envisioning the Past - Archaeology and the image (Blackwell 2005), and with Simon Keay I edited Greek Art in View (Oxbow 2004). Articles I have published in journals such as Isis, The Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, Museum Anthropology, World Archaeology, and Antiquity examine archaeological and antiquarian illustration, the analysis of museum displays, archaeological reception studies, and community archaeology. Major grants I have received include those of the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, English Heritage, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. I have been fortunate to supervise a large number of interdisciplinary and innovative PhD projects, including those which examine the representation of the ancient world, archaeological visualisation, archaeology and the media (film, television and print), and community archaeology.  

Research interests

My primary areas of interest include visual culture, reception studies, museum studies, ancient Egypt, and knowledge formation in archaeology. The research I have carried out in these fields addresses the ways in which ideas about the past are created by a complex interaction between scholarly and creative responses to ancient cultures. This interest grew out of a passion for visual representation in archaeology I developed as an undergraduate, and which was the subject of my first book. A concern with the historical, social and political contexts of archaeology was the subject of my PhD and the results of this analysis were published in a series of articles. Since coming to the UK from Australia in 1995 I have focused on the way audiences have engaged with the ancient past and the history of archaeological visualisation. My interest in community archaeology grew out of my training in Australia and led to setting up the Quseir Heritage Project in Egypt, which involved collaborating with local residents and teachers to communicate ideas about their past in a heritage centre. My interest in images and archaeology led to my involvement in the English Heritage sponsored 'Visualisation in Archaeology' Project, which involved organising workshops and conferences, and producing publications on graphic practices in archaeology.

My books provide the most detailed explorations of my research interests. While Ancestral Images examined pictorial reconstructions of human ancestors and the ways in which they shaped ideas about human evolution, Wondrous Curiosities looked at museum representations of ancient Egypt, demonstrating how the British Museum conveyed powerful ideas of this culture through its displays. My interest in British receptions of ancient Egypt in the nineteenth century led to the publication of Designing Antiquity, which examined the role of nineteenth century British designers in creating ideas of ancient Egypt, particularly the work of Owen Jones and his pioneering exhibits on the ancient world at the Crystal Palace at Sydenham. My latest book, Painting Antiquity, examines how painters engaged with archaeology and ancient Egypt in the second half of the nineteenth century in Britain. Focusing on the Egyptian-themed works of three leading painters, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Edward Poynter and Edwin Long, the study demonstrates how these artists were inspired by the domestic material culture of ancient Egypt, particularly the collections of the British Museum.

Research Project(s)

I am currently working on a book that examines how Egyptian antiquities inspired prominent British furniture designers of the nineteenth century, in particular E.W. Godwin. The impacts of discoveries of ancient Egyptian material culture on the design movement in Britain are of interest because they demonstrate how antiquity became a central trope in debates about modernity. The history of antiquarian and archaeological illustration is also a focus of my current research, with articles in preparation on the role of the Society of Antiquaries of London in promoting the development of graphic practices for studying the past.

Research Group

Steph is part of the Respresentation, Visualisation and Politics of Archaeology Research group.

Affiliate research group

Representation, Visualisation and Politics of Archaeology

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Book Chapters


PhD Supervision

Stephanie supervises PhD students working on the reception and representation of archaeology (particularly ancient Egypt), archaeological visualisation, archaeology in museums and exhibitions, community archaeology and the history of archaeology.

Professor Stephanie Moser
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton
Avenue Campus, Highfield
SO17 1BF
United Kingdom

Room Number : 65A/3035

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