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Dr Ellen Adams

Dr Ellen Adams

Ellen AdamsLecturer in Classical Art & Archaeology

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 2768
Address Department of Classics
King's College London
 C12, North Wing
London WC2R 2LS


Ellen's interests so far have focused on Minoan Crete, specifically the Neopalatial period (c. 1700-1450 BC). She received her PhD on Minoan Crete from Cambridge in 2004. She then spent two years based at the British School at Athens with a Leverhulme Study Abroad Studentship, and then two years at the Department of Classics, Trinity College Dublin, on an Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) Postdoctoral Fellowship. She came to King's in 2007. In addition to Minoan Crete, she has written articles on Bronze Age Cyprus and the classical tradition in museums of London.

Research interests and PhD supervision
  • Minoan (Neopalatial) Crete
  • Mediterranean islands in the Bronze Age
  • History of classical collections
  • The classical world in modern London and its museums

Ellen’s research focuses on the archaeology of Mediterranean islands, in particular Crete and Cyprus during the Bronze Age. Various themes are explored in this work, such as ritual, experiential approaches to architecture and monumentality. She is also interested in museology, and how the ancient world is displayed and reconstructed in modern London.

Ellen is interested in supervising research students in the above areas, particularly ancient Crete and the Mediterranean island, urban landscapes, architecture and the use of space in ancient Greece, and the history of London's museums in their display of artifacts from this period.

For more details, please see my full research profile.

Selected publications
  • Forthcoming ‘Personal identity in Minoan Crete: the body as representation, agent and object’, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies
  • Forthcoming ‘Shaping, collecting and displaying medicine and architecture: a comparison of the Hunterian and Soane museums’, Journal of the History of Collections
  • 2010 'Centrality, "capitals" and prehistoric cultures: a comparative study of Late Bronze Age Crete and Cyprus' Cambridge Classical Journal, 56, pp. 1-46.
  • 2009 ‘Defining and displaying the human body: collectors and Classics during the Enlightenment’, Hermathena 187, 65-97.
  • 2007 'Approaching monuments in the prehistoric built environment: new light on the Minoan palaces' Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 26, 359-394.

For a complete list of my publications, please see my full research profile.


I teach a range of archaeological modules, using London’s fantastic museums as much as possible.  Half of my ‘Grand Tour’ module is spent in museums, including the British Museum, National Gallery and Victoria and Albert, and the module includes a hands-on session of Greek pots.  I teach a module on Greek archaeology and a specialized one on Bronze Age islands.  I also teach ‘Greek Religion’ jointly with an ancient historian. I have two MA modules, one on the art of the Bronze Age, and one on Ancient Cyprus.

Expertise and public engagement

Ellen has appeared twice on Radio 4’s ‘In Our Time’ with Melvyn Bragg, discussing the ‘Minoan civilization’ and the ‘Trojan War’.  She has also appeared on Radio 3’s ‘Night Waves’ discussing the decipherment of Linear B. 


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