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Katie Manby

Katie Manby

Areas of interest

  • Archaeology of the Roman Empire 
  • Artefact studies 
  • Museum collection histories 
  • Archaeological metals and scientific analysis
  • Statuettes and figurines

Research projects

Complex Divinities: Writing the chemical, archaeological and collecting biographies of 1st century AD Roman copper-alloy statuettes within the British Museum.

My research focuses on the British Museum’s collection of copper-alloy statuettes within the Greece and Rome department, specifically gods and goddesses from first century Roman domestic contexts. The British Museum has a large collection of copper-alloy statuettes (c.1800), of which the majority have no confirmed archaeological provenance. Many were collected by six major collectors in the 18th and 19th century known to have operated around Naples, and are thus likely to have a Campanian provenance linked to the 79 AD Vesuvius eruption. My research seeks to build individual object biographies for these statuettes, while situating them within a broader empire-wide context of Roman religion and technology. I am developing an integrated methodology with which to approach these items, combining more traditional stylistic cataloguing with new chemical and metallurgical analysis (XRF, MP-AES, LA-ICP-MS) alongside collections and archive research. 
This project is an AHRC funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Project with the British Museum (Greece & Rome and Scientific department).


Professor Hella Eckardt (University of Reading)

Dr Pete Bray (University of Reading)

Thorsten Opper (British Museum)

Frederik Rademakers (British Museum)


I hold a BA in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (1st class) from the University of Oxford, and an MA in Archaeology (Distinction) from the University of Reading. My Undergraduate dissertation focused on inscriptions by the Holconii Family from the Large Theatre of Pompeii. My MA dissertation, conducted through a fully-funded Highways England studentship with MOLA/Headland Infrastructure, focused on the large structural iron nail assemblage from the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon excavations, developing an improved methodology and typology for recording this material type. During my MA I was awarded the Astill-Chapman Prize for best performance, and was nominated to the Royal Archaeological Institute prize for the best MA dissertation. Prior to my MA I worked as a Graduate Manager within the NHS, alongside completing a PgDip in Healthcare Leadership with the Universities of Birmingham/Manchester. I have participated in multiple seasons of archaeological excavation, most notably of the Greco-Roman Temple complex at Halaesa, Sicily. I have a particular focus on Roman artefact studies and run the Roman Artefact Reading Group at the University of Reading. 


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