Marie Theres Wittmann

My DPhil project employs an interdisciplinary approach combining archaeological and epigraphic sources to look at the so-called African Boom of the end of 2nd/ early 3rd century AD. During that period, North African cities experienced a heyday which for a long time was attributed to the emperor Septimius Severus, who was from Lepcis Magna, and a favouring preference for his region of origin. However, a closer look at the building inscriptions shows that the increasing urbanisation was not financed by the imperial government but by the city councils and members of the local elite. Hence, my thesis aims to answer if there were preferred building types for investing, if the elite members aimed for advantages when sponsoring building projects, and why North African cities experienced such a boost of urbanisation at exactly this time. To sum up: who funded the African Boom and why?

In addition, my research interests include the economy of perfume and cosmetics as well as late antique bathing culture. I appreciate a highly interdisciplinary approach and having studied Classical Philology, Economics and Classical Archaeology, I try to combine all kinds of sources in order to get a fuller and livelier picture of antiquity. In my philological master’s thesis (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and archaeological bachelor’s thesis (Freie Universität Berlin), I assessed Augustine’s works in the context of the archaeological site of Hippo Regius. Moreover, I have excavated at Xanten (Colonia Ulpia Traiana, Germany), Pausilypon (Naples, Italy), Pompeii (Italy) and Aphrodisias (Turkey).