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Associate Professor in the Department of Archaeology332A+44 (0) 191 33 41138
Member of Steering Group in the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture  
Member of the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East  


Brief Biography

Before moving into archaeology, I trained as a studio artist in ceramic design and then painting, printmaking and drawing, obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Art from the School of the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, USA. After working as an artist, illustrator and journalist in my native Bermuda, I took an RSA diploma in Early European Art History from Christie’s Education in London, going on to do an MPhil and a DPhil in Classical Archaeology at the University of Oxford. During that time I worked as a curatorial assistant at the Bermuda Maritime Museum and at Sir John Soane's Museum in London, and as Researcher at the Oxford Research Archive of Greek and Roman Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum’s Cast Gallery. Subsequently, I have held a Junior Research Fellowship at Somerville College, Oxford (intermitted for a temporary lectureship in the Department of Classics, Oxford), a fixed-term lectureship in Classical Art at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and research fellowships at The Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations at Koç University in Istanbul and at the British Institute at Ankara. I have also participated in various field work projects in Bermuda and Turkey (Kerkenes, Zincirli, Çaltilar) as an excavator, finds registrar, and sculpture specialist.


My research bridges art history and archaeology, involving in depth analysis of iconographies, consideration of meaning and interpretation, and wider aspects of political, geographical and social context. I have interests in the art and archaeology of Anatolia and the Mediterranean in the Iron Ages to Classical periods (first half of the first millennium BC), with a specific concentration on the non-Greek speaking zones of Central and Western Anatolia (Phrygia, Hellespontine Phrygia, Lydia and Lycia). I also have interests in the in overlaps and relations between the archaeology of the Near East and the Mediterranean, which led me to co-found a seminar series (NearEastMed) at while at Oxford. 

I have published a range of articles re-examining iconography and architecture of monumental decorated tombs in Western Anatolia, which flourished especially following its incorporation into the Achaemenid Persian Empire, pointing out relationships to historical context and significant patterns in representation. My most recent work has used the appearance and patterning of monuments and imagery as important signs of regional dynamics, and moved to explore settlement and economic activity related to this. An edited book on interpretations of images of banquets employed in tomb art across the ancient world, from Etruria to Han China, came out in 2016 and I am currently working on a monograph synthesising the images used on tombs in Western Anatolia between the Persian conquest and the Persian Wars, and their significance for reconstructing identities and social dynamics during that time of flux. I am also in the early stages of building a new project on drawing in archaeology.


I am a passionate believer in the role of archaeology in modern society and as a university subject which can impart a great range of skills, both practical and intellectual, with applications beyond the confines of academia: close, forensic analysis, visual attention, synthesis, problem spotting and solving, research, good writing for multiple audiences, and a sense of human interaction with and the formation of the material world which we inhabit. In my teaching, I aim to provide practical opportunities to build these skills; to inspire enthusiasm for critical and creative analysis of representations of the past and the relevance of this for contemporary society; and to help students to develop their confidence and their own original thoughts. I have taught topics from the archaeology of Iron Age Anatolia and Early Greece to art in the Roman Empire, and I have particular interests in addressing aspects such as ethnicity and identity, approaches to images, and regionalism. I offer a specialist third year class on Greeks and Others: Art and Identity in Ancient Greece and Beyond, which considers these and related issues.

I would be very interested in supervising PhD dissertations on aspects of methodological issues in the interpretation of ancient imagery; the art and archaeology of and/or settlement in Iron Age and Classical/Achaemenid Anatolia, including Phrygia, Lydia and Lycia; interactions of the Near East, Egypt and the Mediterranean in the Archaic and Classical periods; regionality in the Archaic and Classical Mediterranean and Anatolia; and cognition and aesthetics in archaeological illustration. I would also be interested in exploring co-supervision for law students with an interest in copyright and contract law and its relationship to the use of images in the dissemination of archaeological research.

Research interests

  • Art under the Achaemenid Empire
  • Food and drink economy in Iron Age/Achaemenid/Classical Anatolia, or Achaemenid Empire
  • Iconographic programmes of fourth century Lycian tombs (requires German)
  • Iconographic programmes of Thracian painted tombs
  • Drinking culture in Anatolia
  • Hellenistic and Roman Lycia (requires German)
  • Archaic and fifth century BC Crete
  • The Eastern Mediterranean Basin’s connectivity in the Classical period

Research groups


Authored book

  • Draycott,Catherine M. & Summers, Geoffrey D. (2008). Kerkenes Special Studies 1. Sculpture and Inscriptions from the Monumental Entrance to the Palatial Complex at Kerkenes Dağ, Turkey. Oriental Institute Press.

Book review

  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2014). Review of E. Simpson, The Furniture from Tumulus MM. The Gordion Wooden Objects, Vol. 1. 2 vols. Culture and History of the Ancient Near East Vol. 32. Leiden: Brill, 2010. Journal of the American Oriental Society 134(2): 326-329.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2015). Review of Ş. Karagöz, Kleinasiatisch-gräko-perische Kunstwerke im archäologischen Museum von Istanbul. Istanbuler Forschungen 54. Ernst Wasmuth, Tübingen 2013. American Journal of Archaeology 119(2).
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2011). Review of I. Benda-Weber, Lykier und Karier. Zwei autochthone Ethnien Kleinasiens zwischen Orient und Okzident. Asia Minor Studien 56. Ancient West and East 10: 439-42.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2007). Review of H. Dedeoğlu, The Lydians and Sardis. Istanbul: A Turizm Yayınları 2004. Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR 2007.04.56).
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2014). Review of Matt Waters, Ancient Persia. A Concise History of the Achaemenid Empire, 550-330 BCE. New York: CUP 2014. Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR 2014.09.61): BMCR 2014.09.61.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2008). Review of Chr. Rudolph, Das 'Harpyien-Monument' von Xanthos: seine Bedeutung innerhalb der spätarchaischen Plastik. BAR International Series 1108. Oxford: Hedges 2003. Ancient West and East 7: 429-31.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2019). CARIA, CRETE AND FOUNDATION MYTHS. (N.) Carless Unwin Caria and Crete in Antiquity. Cultural Interaction between Anatolia and the Aegean. Pp. xx + 266, ills, maps. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. The Classical Review 1.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2014). Review of E. Dusinberre, Empire, Authority, and Autonomy in Achaemenid Anatolia. New York: CUP 2013. American Journal of Archaeology 118(3).

Chapter in book

  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2016). Drinking to Death: The Emergence of the ‘Totenmahl’ and Drinking Culture in Late Archaic/early Achaemenid Western Anatolia. In Dining and Death: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the ‘Funerary Banquet’ in Ancient Art, Burial and Belief. Catherine M. Draycott & Maria Stamatopoulou Peeters. 219-298.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2008). Bird-women on the Harpy Monument from Xanthos, Lycia: sirens or harpies? In Essays in Classical Archaeology for Eleni Vassiliou 1977-2007. D.C. Kurtz, C. Meyer, D. Saunders, A. Tsingarida & N. Harris Oxford: Beazley Archive and Archaeopress. 145-153.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2018). Making meaning of myth. On the interpretation of mythological imagery in the Polyxena Sarcophagus and the Kızılbel Tomb and the History of Achaemenid Asia Minor. In Wandering Myths: Transcultural Uses of Myth in the Ancient World. Audley-Miller, Lucy & Dignas, Beate Berlin: De Gruyter. 23-70.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2011). Funerary or Military Convoy? Thoughts on the Tatarlı convoy painting and the meaning of the ‘Greco-Persian’ convoy. In Kelainai – Apameia Kibotos: Stadtentwicklung im anatolischen Kontext/Kélainai – Apamée Kibôtos: Développement urbain dans le contexte anatolien. Akten des Kolloquiums, München 2 April – 4 April 2009. L. Summerer, A. Ivantchik & A. von Kienlin De Boccard, Editiones Ausonius. 55-61.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2019). Activating the Achaemenid Landscape. The Broken Lion Tomb (Yılan Taş) and the Phrygian Highlands in the Achaemenid Period. In Phrygia in Antiquity: From the Bronze Age to the Byzantine Period. Proceedings of an International Conference 'The Phrygian Lands over Time: From Prehistory to the Middle of of the 1st Millennium AD', held at Anadolu University, Eskisehir, Turkey, 2nd-8th November, 2015. Tsetskhladze, Gocha R. Leuven: Peeters Press. 24: 189-220.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2007). Dynastic Definitions: Differentiating Status Claims in the Archaic Pillar Tomb Reliefs of Lycia. In Anatolian Iron Ages 6: The Proceedings of the Sixth Anatolian Iron Ages Symposium held at Eskişehir-Turkey, 16-19 August 2004. A. Sagona & A. Çilingiroğlu Peeters. 20: 103-34.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2015). Unicorn’s horn or guideline? On the meaning of an unusual diagonal line in an unfinished relief of a bovine on the Kalekapı tomb at Donalar, Paphlagonia. In Art in the Making: Approaches to the Carving of Stone. Wootton, William, Russell, Ben & Libonati, Emma The Art of Making in Antiquity. Stoneworking in the Roman World.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2019). Art History and Achaemenid History: Or, What You Can Get out of the Back End of a Bull. In Visual Histories of the Classical World Essays in Honour of R.R.R. Smith. Draycott, Catherine M., Raja, Rubina, Welch, Katherine & Wootton, William T. Brepols. 4: 15-33.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2016). Introduction: what lies beyond. In Dining and Death: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the ‘Funerary Banquet’ in Ancient Art, Burial and Belief. Catherine M. Draycott & Maria Stamatopoulou Peeters. 1-32.

Edited book

  • Draycott, Catherine M., Raja, Rubina, Welch, Katherine & Wootton, William T. (2019). Visual Histories of the Classical World Essays in Honour of R.R.R. Smith. Studies in Classical Archaeology. Brepols.

Journal Article

  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2010). Convoy Commanders and Other Military Identities in Tomb Art of Western Anatolia around the Time of the Persian Wars. Bollettino di Archeologia online Volume speciale: Roma 2008 - International Congress of Classical Archaeology. Meetings between cultures in the ancient Mediterranean (ed. by M. Dalla Riva): G/G1/2, 7-23.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2010). What does 'Being Graeco-Persian' mean? An introduction to the papers. Bollettino di Archeologia online Volume speciale: Roma 2008 - International Congress of Classical Archaeology. Meetings between cultures in the ancient Mediterranean (ed. by M. Dalla Riva): G /G1/1, 1-6.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2015). ‘Heroa’ and the City. Kuprlli’s New Architecture and the Making of the ‘Lycian Acropolis’ of Xanthus in the Early Classical period. Anatolian Studies 65: 97-142.

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2014). Images and Ambiguities. Interpreting identities in the tomb art of early Achaemenid Western Anatolia. Heritage Turkey 4: 34.
  • Draycott, Catherine M (2015). Devotion and Desecration. Artemon and Nenas' Dedications in the Cabalia (North Lycia). Heritage Turkey 5: 38-39.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2015). Dining after Death? Minerva November/December 2015: 46-50.
  • Draycott, Catherine M. (2016). Images and Identities: Interpreting Identities in the Tomb Decorations of Anatolia in the Early Achaemenid Period. AEMES Journal (77): 23-27.

Supervision students