Prof Naoíse Mac Sweeney

Naoise2.jpgProfessor of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology

BA (Cambridge), MA (London), PhD (Cambridge), FHEA



Personal details


I studied for my undergraduate degree at the University of Cambridge and my Master’s at UCL, before going back to Cambridge for my PhD. I then spent a short time in policy research working on conflict and international development. Returning to Cambridge once more in 2008, I held a Junior Research Fellowship in the Faculty of Classics and Fitzwilliam College, before moving to Leicester to join the School in January 2011. Since then, I have held a visiting Research Fellowship at Harvard's Center for Hellenic Studies, and a Philip Leverhulme Prize.

My research focuses on the construction of identity and cultural interaction.  I am especially interested in the stories we tell about who we are - often, these will be myths of foundation and origin. Such stories can be told, not just by that we say (the spoken and written word) but also by what we do (social practice and performance). My work to date has focused on these topics in relation to the Iron Age to Classical periods in the ancient Greek world and Anatolia, with a special recent focus on Troy and myths of the Trojan War. My current project considers migration and mobility around the Mediterranean in the Iron Age, and is called MIGMAG: Migration and the Making of the Ancient Greek World. It is funded by a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council, and will run from 2020 to 2025.

I am also interested in wider engagement with the antiquity, and the politics of reception and heritage. I passionately believe that those of us who study the past also have a responsibility to the present. I am currently coordinating 'Claiming the Classical', an international network that addresses the use of classical antiquity in contemporary political rhetoric. I also coordinate the Artefact to Art competition, encouraging children to engage creatively with antiquity; and am a judge for the Runicman Book Prize. I am also the lead academic editor for the journal Anatolian Studies.

Recent Publications

For full publication list, see here

2018. Troy: Myth, City, Icon. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

2018 (with Jan Haywood) Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War: Dialogues with Tradition. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

2017: 'Separating Fact from Fiction in the Ionian Migration', Hesperia 38: 379-421.


Current projects include:

Topics available for PhD supervision

  • Greek history and archaeology from the Iron Age to the Classical periods
  • Anatolian history and archaeology from the Iron Age to the Classical periods
  • Greek historiography and identities

Learn more about studying for a PhD with us

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