Dr Peter Haarer

Academic Background

As an undergraduate I read ‘Archaeology and Ancient History and Greek’ at the University of Bristol after which I spent two years in industry. I returned to academia and completed my D.Phil. in Ancient History at Balliol College, Oxford before moving on to post-doctoral research on early alphabetic Greek writing at the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents.

Research Interests

My research interests are two-fold. My doctoral thesis (‘Obeloi and Iron in Archaic Greece’) addressed changes in the perception of iron during the period ca. 1100-500 B.C. and questions the orthodox model for the transition from bronze to iron in the eastern Mediterranean. My interest in iron has continued and as an invited specialist I am preparing for publication the finds of iron billets from the Kyrenia shipwreck of the early third century BC. These billets give an important rare glimpse into how iron was produced and traded during this period.

My other research interest is the emergence of alphabetic Greek writing. As part of my work at the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents I used the Anne Jeffery Archive as the core of a web-based research tool for the study of archaic Greek inscriptions (Poinikastas). Research in progress includes the study of “retrograde” letters in archaic Greek inscriptions combined with work on letter frequency as a comment on the degree of design in the Greek alphabet, and the probability with which it was the result of broad, informal experimentation in writing across the Greek world and beyond, rather than the work of a single inventor or product of a single source.

Research Keywords

Archaic Greek history and archaeology; Epigraphy; The emergence of alphabetic Greek writing; The development of iron during the Archaic and Classical periods.


I teach papers in the archaeology and history of the ancient Greek world ranging from the Early Iron Age to the end of the Classical Period.  In addition, I teach some papers in Greek language and literature.


I am the Director of the Practical Epigraphy Workshop (a course which gives hands-on instruction in how to study inscriptions in the field and which attracts an international pool of applicants).

"Mods & Prelims (Classics / CAAH / AMH): Thucydides and the Greek West, Aristophanes’ Political Comedy, Texts & Contexts (Greek), Aristocracy & Democracy (""Greek Core""), Greek History 650-479 BC, The World of Homer & Hesiod, Foreign Texts: Herodotus 5.26-6.131, Greek language.
FHS (Lit. Hum. / CAAH / AMH):  I.1 Greek History I: c.750 to 479 BC, I.2 Greek History II: 479 to 403 BC, I.7 Athenian Democracy in the Classical Age, I.8 Alexander the Great and his Early Successors (336 BC – 302 BC), and IV.1 The Greeks in the Mediterranean World c. 950 BC – 500 B.C.; Site / Museum reports for CAAH candidates, and dissertations for AMH candidates."


Selected Publications:
Entries for the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Ancient History (2013) on: Alkmaionidai, Bacchiadai, Basileus, Demos, Dorieus, Hesiod, Iron, Kypselus, Symposium. 
2004: http://poinikastas.csad.ox.ac.uk (the web-based publication of the Anne Jeffery Archive on which I was the principal researcher, 2001-4). 
2001:"Problematising the Transition from Bronze to Iron" in Shortland, A., ed. The Social Context of Technological Change, Oxbow Books.