Sarah Wenner sitting in front of a depiction of a Roman Arch

UC's Classics Department has had four dissertation defenses so far in 2023: Sarah Wenner, Cecillia Cozzi, Duccio Guasti, and Andy Lund. These short news articles over the following weeks will describe their dissertation work and what they've been doing since their defense.

Sarah Wenner defended her dissertation, titled "(Re) Making a Roman City: Refuse, Recycling, and Renovation Across Empire," on January 13, 2023. Under the direction of Prof. Steven Ellis (committee members: Prof. Barbara Burrell and Prof. Jack Davis), her dissertation considered the construction of Roman cities from ca. 500 BCE - 500 CE through one of the most voluminous urban components: refuse. Wenner examined patterns of waste recycling at three Roman cities, assessing one type of excavated material culture at each site (ceramics at Petra; animal bones at Pompeii; and bulk finds at Segedunum, UK), arguing that both individuals and city administrations struggled to maintain their control of the urban resource, especially during periods of population growth.

After her defense, Wenner accepted a National Endowment for the Humanities post-doctoral fellowship to begin work on her first book, tentatively titled "As Above, So Below: Refuse and the Making of Petra." During her four months in Jordan, she analyzed hundreds of thousands of sherds from previous excavations while living at the American Center of Research in Amman, assisted in the running of the Garden and Pool Complex field school in Petra, and participated in a new field project at Khirbet edh-Khalde, just outside of Aqaba in southern Jordan.

Back in Cincinnati, Wenner has accepted a position at the Cincinnati Art Museum, where she is a research fellow in Ancient Mediterranean and Ancient Middle Eastern Art. She is also teaching two classes for the Classics department: Greek Art and Archaeology and Classics and Cinema. She says of her time at UC Classics, "When I began my PhD work in 2015, I had no idea how many worlds the department would open for me. My advisor, Steven Ellis, and all of the faculty have helped me expand my research in new and exciting ways; have encouraged me to grow as an expert in Nabataean and Roman ceramics; gave me the teaching experience I wanted and allowed me to flourish as a creative instructor; and helped me find opportunities in the museum field." Please join us in congratulating Dr. Sarah Wenner!