Current Research: Are You Not Entertained? - Presenting Roman Pasts
My practice-based research project will investigate ways of presenting Roman history and archaeology at the National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon, Newport. It will test ideas for refreshing and communicating the history of the Roman occupation of Wales to new audiences in and around the site using a variety of audio-visual media. I will research the different museological styles, and screen-based techniques used currently to tell the story of Roman occupation in museums around Britain and Europe.
Combining different practice based approaches and collaborating with diverse community groups, I will seek to make a significant contribution to the interdisciplinary fields of museum studies, and media based public history and archaeology. I will find new ways of presenting the Roman occupation of Wales to a diverse audience and feed into the redevelopment of the National Roman Legion Museum.
This is a collaborative practice-based doctoral project with the Department of Film & Television (Angela Piccini), National Roman Legion Museum (Mark Lewis, Senior Curator in Roman Archaeology, Museum of Wales) and Southampton University (Professor Stephanie Moser, Archaeology). The project is funded by South, West & Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP).
Previous Academic Research:
I carried out my both my undergraduate and MA degree at Cardiff University. I have published two papers based on my MA research in which I catalogued and analysed over 400 objects discovered by metal detectorists at Brecon Gaer Roman fort. The first was part of a joint paper about recent archaeological work at Brecon Gaer (Hankinson et al., 2015), in which I summarised the metal detector finds and reassessed the dating and chronology of the site.
The second (Lewis, 2016) was a paper I delivered at the 18th Roman Military Equipment Conference held in Denmark, 2013. In the paper I discussed what the discovery of native metal work at the Roman fort could tell us about the relationship between Romans and native Britons. This looked at the different theories put forward about this complex relationship both in Wales and Britain as a whole and what the evidence at Brecon Gaer could add to this debate.
I am currently employed part-time as a Learning Officer at St Fagans National Museum of History, starting in 2014. Prior to this I worked at the National Roman Legion Museum between 2009 and 2014. During my time with National Museum Wales I have engaged with a variety of audiences including U3A and historical groups, people living with dementia, primary and secondary schools, people with learning disabilities, people with behavioural difficulties, and families. Since 2014 I have been creating digital resources for schools to use based on the collections of National Museum Wales along with partners from National Library Wales, Cadw and Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments Wales.
Hankinson, R., Lewis, J., Chapman, E., Toller, H., Webster, P., Owen, W., and Silvester, B. 2015. ‘Recent work in the environs of Brecon Gaer Roman fort’. Archaeologia Cambrensis 164, 89 - 130.
Lewis, J. 2016. ‘Finds from the Frontier: Romans and Natives at Brecon Gaer Roman fort’. Journal of Roman Military Equipment Studies 17, 235 - 242.