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Heather Hunter-Crawley’s research explores the relationship between religion and art under the Roman Empire and in Late Antiquity, particularly in pilgrimage, mystery cults, domestic cult, and Christianity. She is especially interested in the ways that ancient people’s world views and religious ideas were constructed through their sensory encounters with sacred objects and sites, and in the relationship between ‘paganism’ and Christianity. She attained her undergraduate degree at the University of Warwick, and her Masters and Doctorate at the University of Bristol, specialising in the lay Christian experience of pilgrimage and the Eucharist in Late Antiquity (particularly in Syria and the Holy Land). She has held fellowships at Dumbarton Oaks and Fondation Hardt, and has contributed to research projects, events, and publications in the UK, US, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Russia, and Denmark, and has also advised about the display of ancient religion in museums. She is currently writing a monograph on material religion in the Imperial Roman household.
Heather welcomes enquiries from potential doctoral students interested in ancient art, religion, and the senses.


  1. Pilgrimage made Portable: A Sensory Archaeology of the Monza-Bobbio Ampullae. Journal on Hellenistic and Roman Material Culture (HEROM) 1, 135-156.
  2. Embodying the Divine: The Sensational Experience of the Sixth-Century Eucharist. In Jo Day (Ed.), Making Senses of the Past: Toward a Sensory Archaeology. (pp. 160-176). Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.
  3. (2013). Divine Embodiment: Ritual, Art and the Senses in Late-antique Christianity.
  4. Movement as Sacred Mimesis at Abu Mena and Qal’at Sim’an, ed. by Troels Myrup-Kristensen & Wiebke Friese. In Wiebke Friese & Troels Myrup-Kristensen (Ed.), Excavating Pilgrimage: Archaeological Approaches to Sacred Travel and Movement in the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East. (pp. 187-202). Aldershott: Routledge.
  5. The Cross of Light: Experiencing Divine Presence in Byzantine Syria. In Claire Nesbitt and Mark Jackson (Ed.), Experiencing Byzantium: Papers from the 44th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, Newcastle and Durham, April 2011. (pp. 175-193). Farnham: Ashgate.

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Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2015 Present Lecturer in Ancient History Swansea University
2013 2015 Senior Associate Teacher University of Bristol
2011 2013 Teacher University of Bristol
2009 2011 Teaching Assistant University of Bristol
2009 2011 Lifelong Learning Programme Coordinator University of Bristol

External Responsibilities