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The University of Southampton
Humanities Graduate School

Stephanie Evelyn-Wright

I graduated from the University of Southampton with a BA Archaeology in 2010. During my degree I developed a fascination for funerary archaeology and identity in the Roman period, especially after digging in the Roman sites of Noviodunum, Romania and Portus in Italy.

Stephanie Evelyn-Wright

Having grown up with a disabled sibling and had several job roles working with disabled people, disability is a theme I am passionate about and has become a key theme within my academic studies. Over the course of my MA Archaeology of Rome and its Provinces (2011-2012), I was able to develop this subject as my main field of study, along with additional skills in human osteology.
In October 2014 I started studying for a PhD under the joint supervision at the Universities of Southampton, Reading and Exeter with the assistance of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership.

In my PhD, I will examine the way in which a disabled identity manifests through osteological and mortuary evidence in skeletal collections from the Roman period. The social model argues that impairment alone does not lead to disability. Instead society is the disabling factor, which does not allow for these differences. With this in mind, I aim to explore the social and cultural consequences of impairment, to see if Roman society did disable people and what effect this may have had on impaired individuals. Building on the methodology developed in my Masters dissertation, this PhD aims to integrate accurate scientific analysis with theoretical understanding to gain a nuanced insight into the social ramifications that poor health and disability had on individuals in the Roman period.

To do this I will use an osteobiography approach. As name suggests this is a methodology that aims to use information gleaned from skeletal evidence to create a biography of an individual. This approach will be applied to an extensive sample including people with and without impairments in order to gain insights into an individual’s experience and normative trends within a population. I aim to see whether there were differences in the cultural experiences and lifestyles had by impaired and non-impaired individuals as indicated by for example: diet and mortuary treatment. Through this I believe I will be able to comment on whether the cultural phenomenon of disability existed in the Roman period as we, today, understand it.

Key facts

Stephanie's supervisors are Dr Sonia Zakrzewski (Southampton), Dr Hella Eckardt (Reading) and Prof Elena Isayev (Exeter).

Email Stephanie here.

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