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Aaron Brown

PhD Candidate in Classical Archaeology
adbrown@berkeley.edu
Dwinelle 359A (Floor F)
Office Hours (Spring 2022): Tuesday 1:00-3:00 PM (in-person) & by appointment via Zoom

Research Areas

Research Interests: Classical art and archaeology; Roman and Etruscan/Italic material culture; Pompeian studies; foodways and the archaeology of consumption; household archaeology; social boundary formation and transculturation; visual culture; urbanism.

As a student of material culture, my research aims to elucidate the manifold reflexive relationships forged between humans and objects. In particular, I seek a better understanding of how the ancient Romans and other Italic peoples engaged with the material world which they inhabited. How did individuals – especially those not in power, whose presence may not be so archeologically visible – forge collective identities through material culture? How were objects used in the negotiation of the self and in one’s self-presentation? What can objects of everyday use tell us about social structures in the past? These are a few of the fundamental questions informing my approach to Roman antiquity and ones which also underpin my dissertation. An exploration of practice and embodied knowledge, my dissertation (Taste and Technique: Food Preparation Strategies in the First-Century CE Pompeian Homeconsiders how the inhabitants of first-century CE Pompeii prepared their daily meals and how household economics, sociocultural affiliations, and individual tastes influenced their choice of cooking techniques.  

I have excavated/conducted fieldwork at the following sites in Italy: Rofalco, Cetamura del Chianti, Cerveteri, Morgantina, Oplontis, and Pompeii. I have been a member of the Pompeii Artifact Life History Project since 2014 and continue to conduct research at the site for my dissertation. In 2018, I served as a Mellon Curatorial Intern at the Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia in Rome, where I assisted with collections management and public outreach while also conducting preliminary research for my dissertation.

In addition to studying ancient culinary traditions, I also have an abiding interest in the regional cuisines of modern-day Italy and love attempting to make obscure pasta shapes a mano in my spare time.