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Portrait of an elderly Roman matron (40-20 BCE, Image via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, CC0 License).

Blog: An Independent Scholar Reconstructing the Hairstyles of Antiquity

By Janet Stephens | May 2, 2018

I am a professional hairdresser with a BA degree in Drama. My only other significant job experience was a brief career in Academic Computer Database Administration in the 1980s, managing the Dartmouth Dante Project. I have no formal training in Archaeology or Classics, except for my dismal performance in high school Latin — but somehow this didn’t prevent me from becoming the authority on technical recreation of ancient Roman hairstyles.

I am a textbook case of doing things backwards: my topic found me. A chance encounter with a statue of Julia Domna at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore where I live, set me on the path of scholarship. The Walters had set this portrait out in the middle of the room where I could see the back of her head Read more …