I took a BA in Classics at Bristol University. Alongside my degree I learnt to make mosaics with Marjorie Knowles, one of the foremost British mosaic artists. Afterwards I moved to the Motorhouse in North Yorkshire where I worked with her daughter, Rosie Skaife, on the completion of a large-scale wall mosaic depicting the Atlantic Rainforest.
In 1999 I returned to academic study, completing the MPhil and DPhil in Classical Archaeology at Oxford University. I was supervised by Bert Smith and wrote my thesis on the techniques of production of Hellenistic and Roman mosaics. I have been involved in archaeological excavations in Britain, Bulgaria, Jordan, Israel, Italy (Rome and Pompeii) and Libya, and have also participated in and organised conservation projects in Jordan, Libya, Palestine and Tunisia.
I joined the Classics Department at King’s College London in 2006.
I am a classical archaeologist whose research focuses on craft production in antiquity. I am particularly interested in the intersections between materials and techniques, craftsmen and patrons, and the impact of time, place and society on things made. I have worked extensively on the making of mosaics from the Hellenistic period into Late Antiquity publishing in journals, books and conference proceedings. I am fascinated by process and the practical aspects of making play an important part in my work, hence my involvement in various craft-based projects.
My research crosses the disciplinary boundaries of archaeology, art history, ancient history, digital humanities and contemporary heritage matters. My projects reflect these interests. I was the Principal Investigator on the Leverhulme-funded The Art of Making in Antiquity: Stoneworking in the Roman World focusing on the archive of Peter Rockwell. I directed the heritage project Conserving and Managing Mosaics in Libya, which was funded by the Getty Foundation, and was involved in the creation of the Heritage Gazetteer of Libya. More recently I was co-director of the Training in Action project, funded by the British Council, where I led on capacity building in conservation, heritage management and community engagement. I also co-directed the Ancient Itineraries project which explored the ‘digital’ as it applies to art history. I am currently directing a new project with the Libyan Department of Antiquities focused on the management of World Heritage sites, which is funded by the ALIPH Foundation.
I am happy to supervise students at doctoral level in subjects related to any of my research interests.
For more details, please see my research profile.
Expertise and Public Engagement
I have been Chair and Events Officer for the Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics (ASPRoM) and responsible for a number of mosaic-related workshops including Masterclasses in 2017 and 2019. I am a member of the Artworkers’ Guild and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquities. I also work closely with the Iris Project placing King’s Classics students on the Inner London Latin Project.
- Wootton, W & Russell, B 2013, The Art of Making in Antiquity: Stoneworking in the Roman World. King's College, London.
- Wootton, W 2012, 'Making and Meaning: The Hellenistic Mosaic from Tel Dor', AMERICAN JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGY, vol. 116, no. 2, pp. 209-234.
- Wootton, W 2012, Mosaic production in 4th-c. Britain: materials, makers and making at Badminton Park. in TM Kristensen & B Poulsen (eds), Ateliers and Artisans in Roman Art and Archaeology. JRA Supplement, vol. 92, Journal of Roman Archaeology, Portsmouth RI, pp. 145-168.
- Wootton, WT & Russell, BJ 2017, Makers and Making: Classical Art in Action. in R Raja & A Lichtenberger (eds), The Diversity of Classical Archaeology . Studies in Classical Archaeology edn, vol. 1, Brepols Publishers, 1, pp. 253.
- Wootton, WT, Draycott, C, Raja, R & Welch, K 2018, Visual Histories in the Classical World: Essays in Honour of R.R.R. Smith. Brepols Publishers.