School of Humanities and Sciences


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  • Justin Leidwanger

    Justin Leidwanger

    Associate Professor of Classics

    BioJustin Leidwanger's work focuses on Mediterranean mobilities, maritime communities, and systems of exchange. Shipwrecks and port sites, especially in southeast Sicily and southwest Turkey, are central to exploring these themes in the field, providing evidence for connections and the long-term dynamics of communities situated amid the economically, socially, and politically changing worlds from the rise of Rome through late antiquity.

    Between 2013 and 2019, he led investigations of the 6th-century “church wreck” at Marzamemi (Sicily), which sank while carrying nearly 100 tons of marble architectural elements. Work continues through underwater survey, 3D analysis, and publication as well as immersive heritage initiatives in the local Museum of the Sea and associated pop-up exhibits and dive trails. Project 'U Mari extends this collaborative field research in southeast Sicily, interrogating the heritage of diverse but co-dependent interactions with and across the sea that have long defined the central Mediterranean and offer a resource for deeper engagement with the past and sustainable future development.

    Building on survey since 2017, the project’s newest work examines socioeconomic dynamics spanning 2500 years of tuna fishing through maritime landscape archaeology and documentation of fading material culture and traditional knowledge of the mattanza. Our efforts simultaneously foreground heritage activism through community-based archaeology of the spaces, materialities, and memories of contemporary journeys of forced and undocumented migration across the central Mediterranean.

    Justin teaches courses and advises students on topics in Hellenistic, Roman, and late antique archaeology, economies and interaction, port networks, ceramic production and exchange, and Greco-Roman architecture and engineering. The Maritime Archaeology Lab at the Archaeology Center serves as a fieldwork base and resource for digital modeling (structured light scanning, laser scanning, photogrammetry, GIS, network analysis) and pottery analysis (petrography, pXRF, computational morphological analysis).

    Author of Roman Seas: A Maritime Archaeology of Eastern Mediterranean Economies (Oxford), and editor or co-editor of three more volumes, including Maritime Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean World (Cambridge), his current project is titled Fluid Technologies: Standardization, Efficiency, and the Roman Maritime Economy. This newest work arises from research with students in the field, lab, and museum, analyzing transport amphoras, port infrastructure, and other clues to ancient technologies of distribution.

  • Mengyao Liu

    Mengyao Liu

    Ph.D. Student in Classics, admitted Autumn 2022

    BioI am broadly interested in the production of knowledge in ancient worlds, with a particular interest in the Greco-Roman and Chinese traditions. My curiosity is a comparative and genealogical one at root: by comparing different societies, I seek to grasp the historicity of intellectual practices and the ideas thus produced. Currently, my research interest focuses on astronomy and astrology in Ancient Greece and China.
    While completing my B.A. in Classics at Sorbonne University, I investigated how the urban metamorphoses of Rome materialized the transformation of the political regime. My master's thesis at EHESS, "Statues pour les corps, livres pour les mots" : La vie (βἰος) et la rhétorique (λόγος) dans les Discours Sacrés, offers insight into the psychosomatic relations conceived by the Greeks. The inquiry breaks into two interdependent questions: the therapeutic usage of rhetorical practices and the unconventional representation of Asclepius in the Sacred Tales of Aristides.
    Having one year of training in software engineering from Tsinghua University, I am also passionate about the potentials of digital humanities.