Dr Naoíse Mac Sweeney

Naoise2.jpgAssociate Professor of Ancient History

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

Email: nm241@leicester.ac.uk


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, development and race relations. Returning to Cambridge once more in 2008, I held a Research Fellowship in the Faculty of Classics and Fitzwilliam College, before moving to Leicester to join the School in January 2011.

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 ancient Greek world and the Near East, especially in Anatolia.

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.



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.

2015 (ed.) Foundation Myths in Ancient Societies: Dialogues and Discourses. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

2013. Foundation Myths and Politics in Ancient Ionia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2011. Community Identity and Archaeology: Dynamic communities at Aphrodisias and Beycesultan. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Articles and book chapters

in press: 'Failed nostoi and foundations: Kalchas at Kolophon', in G. Biffis and S. Hornblower eds. Nostoi: Traditions about Mediterranean Settlement. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

in press: 'Herodotus and the 1919-1922 Greco-Turkish War', in J. Skinner and T. Harrison (ads) Herodotus in the Long Nineteenth Century.

with P.S. Wells, in press: 'Edges and Interactions Beyond Europe.' in C. Haselgrove, P.S. Wells and K. Rebay-Salisbury (eds) The Oxford Handbook of the European Iron Age. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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

2017: 'Section 9: Artefacts from Kilise Tepe, 2007-2011', in J.N. Postgate (ed.) Excavations at Kilise Tepe 2007-2012: The Late Bronze and Iron Ages. Cambridge: MacDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. Digital publication.

2017: with T.E. Şerifoğlu: 'Never the Same River Twice: The Göksu Valley Through the Ages', in Y. Heffron, A. Stone and M. Worthington (eds) At the Dawn of History. Near Eastern Studies in Honour of J.N. Postgate. 335-354. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.

2017: with T.E. Şerifoğlu and C. Colantoni: 'Lower Göksu Archaeological Salvage Survey: The Fourth Season', Anatolica 43: 1-13.

2016: with T.E. Şerifoğlu, A. Collar, C. Colantoni and S. Eve: 'Lower Göksu Archaeological Salvage Survey Project: The Third Season', Anatolica 42: 1-17

2016: ‘Anatolian-Aegean connectivity in the Early Iron Age’, in B. Molloy (ed.) Scales and Modes of Interaction Between Prehistoric Aegean Societies and their Neighbours. Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology, 411-434. Oxford: Oxbow.

2016: 'Connectivity and Globalization in the Bronze Age of Anatolia', in T. Hodos (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Globalization and Archaeology, 855-870. London and New York: Routledge.

2015: with T.E. Şerifoğlu and C. Colantoni: 'Lower Göksu Archaeological Salvage Survey Project: The Second Season', Anatolica 41: 177-189.

2015: ‘Violence and the Ionian Migration: Representation and Reality’, in Ç. Maner, K. Kopanias and N. Stampolidis (eds) Nostoi: Indigenous Culture, Migration and Integration in the Aegean Islands and Western Anatolia during the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age, 217-237. Istanbul: Koç University Press.

2014: with T.E. Şerifoğlu and C. Colantoni: 'The Lower Göksu Archaeological Salvage Survey', Anatolica 40: 71-92.

2013: 'Autour des mythes de fondation de Chios et de Samos', in O. Mariaud (ed.) Communautés nouvelles dans l'Antiquité grecque. Mouvements, intégrations et représentations, 155-175. Bordeaux: Ausonius.

2012: ‘A Land without Autochthons: Anatolian archaeology in the early twentieth century’. In M. Seymour, C. Glatz, A. Fletcher, R. Matthews, S. Simpson and J. Tubb (eds) Seventh International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, 12th-16th April 2010,63-72. Oxford: Oxbow Press.

2011: ‘Strange and Estranged: Perceiving cultural contacts in Late Bronze Age – Early Iron Age Anatolia’, in K. Duisterrnaat and I. Regulski (eds) Intercultural Contacts in the Ancient Mediterranean. Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 202, 67-77. Leuven: Peeters.

2010: ‘Hittites and Arzawans: A view from western Anatolia’Anatolian Studies 60: 7-24

2009: ‘Beyond Ethnicity: The Overlooked Diversity of Group Identities’Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 22.1: 101-126

2008: ‘The Meaning of “Mycenaean”’, in Menozzi, O., Di Marzio, M.L., and Fossataro, D. (eds) SOMA 2005. Proceedings of the IX Symposium on Mediterranean Archaeology, Chieti (Italy). Oxford: BAR Archaeopress.

2004: ‘Social Complexity and Population: A Study in the Early Bronze Age Aegean', Papers of the Institute of Archaeology 15: 53-66.

Some other things

2010: 'Rhetoric and Reality: the clash of civilisations from Classical Greece to today', OpenDemocracy, 'Lest We Forget' series 01/10/10.

2009: Building Better Working Relationships: Private sector engagement in post-conflict Nepal. Washington DC: Center for Global Development.

2008: Private-Sector Development in Post-Conflict Countries. Turin: International Labour Organisation.


Current projects include:

Topics available for PhD supervision

  • Interactions between the Greek world and the Near East
  • Greek 'colonisation'
  • Early Greek historiography and foundation myths
  • The archaeology and ancient history of Anatolia from the Late Bronze Age until the Classical period

Learn more about studying for a PhD with us

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