I, Tatiana Ivleva (1982, Moscow, Russia), am a Roman provincial archaeologist with specialism in the archaeology of portable material culture, in particular personal adornments, and long-standing interest in Latin epigraphy, Roman family and Roman frontiers. My main research interests encompass also visual representations and perceptions of identity, mobility, and movement through space, and migrant and diasporic communities. In addition, I am interested in archaeological methods and theories, especially the theory of cultural biographies of artefacts and images.
I graduated in 2004 in History (BA with Honours) from Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow, Russia. In 2004 I was admitted to the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden University, the Netherlands, as a study-abroad student. In 2006 I started my MA studies, which were generously sponsored by DELTA (Dutch education: Learning at the top level abroad) Scholarship from the University of Leiden, and by HSP Huygens Scholarship Programme, award received from the Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education (NUFFIC). In 2008 I was awarded MA in Mediterranean Archaeology from Leiden University, and started immediately working on my doctoral thesis. In November 2012, I defended my PhD thesis entitled “Britons Abroad: The Mobility of Britons and the Circulation of British-made Objects in the Roman Empire”. It explored the visual representation and perception of identity in migrant and diasporic communities by employing as a case study the occurrence of British-born people and the circulation of British-made brooches in continental Europe. The epigraphic evidence gave a dynamic picture of adaptation, reconstruction, and reinvention of ethnic identities by mobile Britons, for whom moving provided new ground for the growing of a new form of ethnic identification that was, in fact, the adopted Roman construct. The distribution of British-made dress accessories, namely brooches, on the continent suggested that these objects were brought by people who had direct connections with Britain, and some were British-born. Through the analysis of the variety of contexts in which these brooches were found, it became possible to see that these personal objects were used in a variety of ways, moving from the status of being dress accessories to embodiments of the past and memories, values, and ideas.
In past years my work has branched out considerably, because my thesis paved the way to future research on the importance of personal and portable dress adornments and the significance of imagery and epigraphy in the projection of a myriad of personal identities. Apart from the research on the glass bangles, I conduct two other studies.
From October till December 2013 I was at the Berliner Antike Kolleg as a postdoctoral research fellow working on the project entitled ‘Agency of Gestures in the Nonverbal World of Roman Funerary Art’. It explored the artistic symbolism and semantic nature of hand gestures on tombstones in the Roman Western provinces, in Pannonia and Noricum in particular. It attempted to challenge the one-dimensional role of the gestures as conspicuous and rhetorical signs. The research has shown that while particular gestures, such as the Christian blessing benedictio latina, yield strong analogies to popular conventional signs depicted on pre-Christian tombstones and on bronze hands devoted to the Near Eastern mystery cult of Sabazios, other gestures convey values and meaning that have been polluted by persistent Romano-centrism and Mediterranean-focused scholarship. The results of this project will be presented at 117th annual meeting of Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), January 6-9 2016, in San Francisco, USA. My long-standing interest in Roman family has brought me to the subject of sex and social/family relations in the frontier regions of the Roman Empire. Together with my colleague from Newcastle University, Dr Rob Collins, we found that the subject relating to constructions of gender and sex identities in the Roman provinces and frontiers has been too often approached from the Roman (Mediterranean) perspective. In particular we are interested in investigating whether one can talk of the extension of the traditional Romano-Hellenistic model to the provinces and frontiers or more of a ‘provincialization’ or ‘barbarization’ of sex and gender identities as similar to well-known aspects of provincial and borderland regions cultural negotiation and syncretism. Rob and I have brought together scholars from various countries and disciplines to share their ideas on this subject in two conference sessions, one held at XXIII LIMES (Roman frontier studies) Congress in Ingolstadt, Germany, in September 2015 and other – at Roman Archaeology Conference in Rome, Italy, in March 2016. My contribution to this subject is the identification of same-sex and polygamous unions in the borderland regions of the Roman world through the evidence of epigraphy.