Principal Investigator


Mantha Zarmakoupi

I am the Morris Russell and Josephine Chidsey Williams Assistant Professor in Roman architecture in the Department of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania.

My research addresses the broader social, economic and cultural conditions underpinning the production of ancient art, architecture and urbanism. I focus on the art and architecture of the Hellenistic and Roman periods and undertake to understand the ways in which the cultural interaction between Greeks and Romans informed their artistic production as well as the shaping of their built environment. I have published widely on Roman luxury villas, as well as on the architecture, harbour infrastructure and urban development of late Hellenistic and Roman Delos.

In my first monograph, I examined the architecture of Roman luxury villas around the Bay of Naples to address the physical, social, and cultural factors that informed the architects’ design decisions (OUP, 2014). I am now preparing a second monograph, also generated by my research on luxury villa architecture, on The idea of landscape in Roman luxury villas. I have also developed a VR digital model of the Villa of the Papyri that systematizes and visualizes data from past and ongoing archaeological fieldwork at the Villa and edited an interdisciplinary volume on the archaeology, reception and reconstruction of the Villa of the Papyri (De Gruyter, 2010).

My current research extends the field of ancient urbanism in new directions. I work on a project on the urban growth of late Hellenistic and Roman Delos, addressing the relationship between economic and social change, urban growth and physical infrastructure,in the context of which she co-directs an underwater fieldwork survey around Delos and Rheneia (2014-). I also co-direct with George Koutsouflakis an underwater survey around islands Levitha, Kinaros and Maura in the central Aegean Sea (2018-) in order to examine the maritime connections of ancient Greece with Asia Minor.

Furthermore, I co-lead with Simon Richards the Delos Network in order to investigate the history and legacy of the Delos symposia (1963-75), which were organized by architect and planner C. A. Doxiadis, in the context of 1960s and 1970s discussions about the future of urban planning. The network brings together scholars, architects and planners, who are currently looking into this period of intellectual history, with a view not only to better understand its significance but also to address how the Delos debates compare with and feed into contemporary concerns about demographic pressures and environmental sustainability and their relation to historical precedents by architects, planners and others. Finally, I collaborate with colleagues from the Universities of Kiel, Athens, Paris, Aarhus and Bergen in an Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership project (2017-20) that aims to create a digital learning environment and MOOC on Ancient Cities.

I have a multidisciplinary training in architectural design (Athens), history and theory of architecture (Harvard), and classical archaeology (Oxford). She has been a Fellow at Freie Universität in Berlin (TOPOI), New York University (ISAW), the University of Cologne (Humboldt Stipendium), the Getty Research Institute (Visiting Scholar), the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies and the National Hellenic Research Foundation (Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship). Before joining the University of Pennsylvania, I was Birmingham Fellow and Lecturer in Classical Archaeology at the University of Birmingham.

Webpage on

Webpage on the website of the National Hellenic Research Foundation

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