Margaret O'Hea

Dr Margaret O'Hea

Senior Lecturer

School of Humanities

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

History Honours prepared me for a doctorate on the transition from Late Roman Gaul to Early Mediaeval Francia, by using both the idea and the reality of the villa in the Roman province of Aquitanica Prima as a thermometer for cultural change into the post-Roman period. How, why and at what point did the concept of the villa segue into the core of the mediaeval village? This research required me to endure summer field trips to the warm and sunny heartland of France, roaming the wine-growing countryside in search of villa remains which were mostly excavated in the 19th century.
Archaeology Honours also led me to Jordan, as a junior member of Sydney University's Expedition to Pella back in December 1982. This experience, initially under the leadership of the late and very much lamented Tony McNicoll and Emeritus Prof. Basil Hennessy, has fostered a life-long interest in the transition from Roman to early Islamic material culture in the region of the Roman Decapolis. I continue to be a senior team-member of this exciting and longstanding excavation project.
From 1994-1996,I co-directed a Pella Hinterland Survey jointly with Dr Pamela Watson (then Asst Director of the British Institute at 'Amman for Archaeology and History). This was a 3-year field survey which examined in detail the evidence for utilisation of the land and water systems of the hinterland of the city of Pella, in order to understand better the economic infrastructure of the local region in the Roman and Byzantine periods.
A necessity to eat in the early 1990s also developed some experience as an historical archaeologist in working on urban sites in Sydney, including First Government House - this interest in Australian archaeology post-1788 continued until 1997 in the guise of co-teaching archaeological Field Methods in conjunction with Flinders University for the now-defunct Graduate Diploma in Archaeology.
Apart from being a dirt (and sometimes dirty) archaeologist, I specialise in the analysis of glass in the ancient Near East - how it was used, in what proportions to other media of utensils, and how those uses changed over time and across regions. Most of this work is centred upon the Roman-Byzantine and early mediaeval periods in Jordan, Syria, southern Turkey and now central Greece. Occasionally, I am given the opportunity to study earlier material, and have published on glass in the Iron Age.
Here in the University of Adelaide, I am also the Director of our Departmental Museum of Classical Archaeology.

Key areas:

  • Glass in the Levant from the IA to Mamluk periods
  • Late Hellenistic and Roman archaeology in the Levant
  • Material culture of Late Antiquity

You can view a 2013 video of my Research Tuesdays lecture, Shards of History, on the importance of glass, here.

Below are some books to which I have contributed chapters on glass. I can't resist adding the cover of the 2011 journal Levant as it is my photo from my article inside.

Jebel Khalid on the Euphrates. Report on Excavations 1986-1996The Nabataean Temple at Khirbet et-Tannur, Jordan, Volume 2. Cultic Offerings, Vessels, and Other Specialist ReportsLate Antique Archaeology 4: Technology in Transition book coverThe Petra Church book coverSanctuary of Lot at Deir ‘Ain ‘Abata in Jordan Excavations 1988–2003. book coverPetra Great Temple vol 3

2011 Levant 43.2


Things That TravelledSweet WasteEBW

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2001 - ongoing Senior Lecturer University of Adelaide
    1991 - 2001 Lecturer University of Adelaide
    1991 - 1991 Casual lecturer University of Sydney
    1991 - 1991 Contract Archaeologist Godden Mackay Heritage Consultants
    1990 - 1991 Casual lecturer University of Sydney
    1989 - 1989 Research Assistant University of Oxford
    1989 - 1991 Contract Archaeologist NSW Office of Environment & Heritage
    1984 - 1984 Research Assistant University of Sydney
    1984 - 1984 Contract Archaeologist NSW Office of Environment & Heritage
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2010 Fellowship Society of Antiquaries of London - United Kingdom -
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    Arabic Can speak and understand spoken
    English, Old (ca.450-1100) Can read
    French Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
    German Can read
    Latin Can read
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    1984 - 1989 Oxford (Keble College) United Kingdom D. Phil.
    1979 - 1983 The University of Sydney Australia BA Double Hons
  • Research Interests

Year Name Type/Source
1984-1987 Commonwealth Overseas Postgraduate Award to Oxford Association of Commonwealth Universities
1986, 1987 Travel awards to USA Craven Committee, Oxford
1989 Travel grant to Israel (Beth Shean) Near Eastern Archaeology Fund, University of Sydney
1994-96 Pella Hinterland Survey Adelaide University ARC Small Grants Scheme (AUD 24,000) and joint-funding with BIAAH grant for Dr Pam Watson (£10,000)
2002 Colossae Project (collaborative with Drs M. Trainor and C. Smith) Flinders University Small Grant (AUD $9000)
2003 Analysis of  Early Mediaeval Glass from Pella Adelaide University Minor University Research Grant (AUD $6000)


I co-teach and have co-ordinated both our current first year courses:
  • CLAS 1003 Introduction to Ancient Greece and Rome
  • CLAS 1004 Ancient World through Film (up to 2018)
Current 2nd and 3rd year courses that I fully teach and co-ordinate:
  • CLAS 2033 Art and Archaeology of Rome  (even years)
  • CLAS 3027 Pagans, Saints and Magic in Late Antiquity (even years)
  • CLAS 3028 Cities of Silk & Spice Routes in Roman Archaeology (odd years)
  • CLAS 2025 Fall of Roman Europe and Birth of the Middle Ages (odd years)
Current courses that I co-teach and sometimes co-ordinate:
  • CLAS 2008 Life in the Golden Age of Rome (even years)
  • CLAS 2029 Rome! Rise of Empire from 509BC to AD14 (odd years)

I also teach within the Honours seminar programme.

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2022 Principal Supervisor In the Shadow of Augustus: Succession Crises in the Roman Empire AD 14 - 193. Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Timothy Edward Hart
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Sex in Suetonius: Sexual Material as a Characterisation Device for Tyrannical
    Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Miss Tamara Jade Bremert
    2019 - 2021 Co-Supervisor The Ascent to the Hidden One: The Reception of the Egyptian One God in Neoplatonism and the Greek Magical Papyri Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Ms Tiana Blazevic
    2019 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Veiled Criticism in Seneca’s Epistulae Morales Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Tamas Karoly Preston
    2016 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Divine Emperors and Italy: Emperor Worship in the Italian Peninsula (Excluding Rome) Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Alex Andrew Antoniou
    2013 - 2013 Co-Supervisor Ancient Cyprus: Island of Conflict? Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Ms Maria Natasha Ioannou
    2008 - 2010 Principal Supervisor The Relationship between the Topographical Mosaics of Provincia Arabia and the Madaba Mosaic Map Master of Arts Master Full Time Miss Jennifer Turner
    2005 - 2008 Co-Supervisor The Portrayal and Role of Anger in the Res Gestae of Ammianus Marcellinus Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Barbara Sidwell
    2002 - 2005 Principal Supervisor The Nature of the Villa Suburbana in Latium and Campania: Literary and Spatial Analysis of Social and Potential Entertainment Functions from the 2nd Century BC to the 2nd Century AD Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Geoffrey Adams
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2005 - 2008 Co-Supervisor The Portrayal and Role of Anger in the Res Gestae of Ammianus Marcellinus The University of Adelaide - Doctorate Full Time Barbara Sidwell
    2005 - 2008 Co-Supervisor Understanding and dealing with evil and suffering: a fourth century AD pagan perspective. The University of Adelaide - Master Part Time Susanne Wallis
    1998 - 2001 Principal Supervisor Images of the crucifixion in late antiquity: the testimony of engraved gems The University of Adelaide - Doctorate Full Time Felicity Harley
    1992 - 1995 Co-Supervisor The Roman imperial cult in Alexandria during the Julio-Claudian period The University of Adelaide - Master Full Time Nicholas EId
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2022 - ongoing Council Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation Council University of Sydney (NEAF) Australia
    2007 - ongoing Board Member HEROM KU Leuven Belgium
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2020 - ongoing Member International Council of Museums Australia
    2020 - ongoing Member American Schools of Oriental Research United States
    2020 - ongoing Member Mediterranean Archaeology Australasian Research Community Australia
    2001 - ongoing Member American Center for Oriental Research United States
    1998 - ongoing Member Association Internationale pour l'histoire du verre (AIHV) -
    1992 - 1994 Member Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Australia
    1984 - 1996 Member British School for Archaeology and History at 'Amman Jordan
    1984 - 1992 Member Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies United Kingdom
  • Consulting/Advisories

    Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country
    2010 - ongoing Newcastle University and Cambridge University Kilise Tepe Project Scientific research Turkey
    2006 - ongoing University of Copenhagen Jarash Islamic Project Scientific research Denmark
    2006 - ongoing Swiss-Lichtenstein Fund and British Institute for Archaeology and History in the Levant - Scientific research Syrian Arab Republic
    2003 - 2014 Australian National University and University of Melbourne Jebel Khalid Excavation Project Scientific research Syrian Arab Republic
    1996 - 1999 ACOR/USAID The Petra Church Project Scientific research Jordan
    1984 - ongoing University of Sydney Near Eastern Archaeology Scientific research Jordan
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    1992 - ongoing Board Member Mediterranean Archaeology University of Sydney Australia
  • Offices Held

    Date Office Name Institution Country
    1994 - 1996 Co-Director The Pella Hinterland Survey, North Jordan Valley Jordan
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83135344
  • Email:
  • Fax: 83134341
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Napier, floor 8
  • Org Unit: School of Humanities

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