Can stones be made (artificially) intelligent? Understanding communities and people from patterns and similarities of architectural decoration in Roman Asia Minor

Begin - Einde 
2023 - 2027 (lopend)



This PhD addresses the phenomenon of similarity in Roman Imperial cultural expressions in Asia Minor through a detailed analysis of the thus far neglected touchstone of the region’s architectural decoration. To this end, it will for the first time connect this material corpus with the historical protagonists behind the ornaments: the people who lived within and alongside these decorated buildings. In concreto, I will scrutinize the decorative canon to examine the driving factors explaining the aforementioned similarity. The underlying idea is to investigate if the decorative similarities match with other known forms of connectivity between the same cities in Asia Minor and their elites, mainly known from written sources. To do so, I will make use of an innovative methodology that has not been used before in the traditional domain of Greco-Roman architectural studies: first through investing in the field’s digital transformation and AI-based analysis, and second, via this PhD’s novel method of connecting architectural to both historical and epigraphical data. Through this interaction, this project is ideally suited to trace and explain the driving force(s) behind widespread material culture-similarities. This project thus transcends disciplinary boundaries, highlighting its final forte. By stimulating a productive dialogue on Roman urban culture between classical archaeology and ancient history, this PhD not only draws inspiration from, but also aims to contribute to, both




Externe medewerkers

Toon Goedemé

KU Leuven