About

I am a PhD Archaeologist and expert in ancient art, with a concentration on Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean. I have much experience in archaeological research projects and excavations over the past twelve years, including in Greece, Egypt, Israel, Turkey and Cyprus. I have collaborated with museums in excavation and digitization projects, such as with the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, as well as received research fellowships at the Albright Institute in Jerusalem and the University of Edinburgh. I am currently writing a book on mercenaries in the ancient world (forthcoming 2021). I speak English, modern Greek, and Spanish fluently, and have intermediate level fluency (CEFR B2) in German and Egyptian Arabic.

Ph.D. Classical Archaeology, University of Oxford (2018)

M.Phil. Classical Archaeology, University of Oxford (2014)

B.A. Honors in History, Classics and Archaeology, The George Washington University (2008)

My Research

I have always been fascinated by how past societies were deeply connected and influenced each other in ways that are not that different to how our societies function today. Factors, such as commerce, diplomacy and conflict to name a few, illuminate these economic, cultural and political ties between societies; however, it is the long-term impacts from these interactions that are truly telling of how the direction of history is navigated.

As an Archaeologist, I explore the material culture of the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, with a focus on interconnectivity and networks between the East and West. I am interested in how these influences materialize in local communities and material culture, such as in ceramics, weapons and warfare, and in art. My expertise is in the Archaic to Hellenistic world (ca. 7th century – 3rd century BCE), though my excavation work expands even further than this, into the Bronze Age (ca. third millennium) as well as into the Roman period.

My current book project, titled A Stranger in All Lands: Mercenaries in the Eastern Mediterranean, expounds on these themes by exploring on the mercenary profession in the ancient world. I investigate the identification of mercenaries from their earliest appearances in the Bronze Age Near East until the sixth century BCE and how they can be archaeologically and textually traced within cross-cultural networks (see a description of my forthcoming book).

My past archaeological fieldwork includes six excavation seasons at the Athenian Agora and various excavation projects in Cyprus, Turkey and Israel. Currently I excavate two Greco-Roman sites in Egypt, in the Fayyum (The Northeast Fayyum Lakeshore Project) and the Western Nile Delta (Kom Wasit/Kom al-Ahmer). In both of these projects, I study the trade routes, the regional movement of goods and Mediterranean influences in local ceramics in Egyptian settlements during the 5th century BCE to the 2nd/3rd century CE (see my recent paper from The Northeast Fayyum Lakeshore Project).

A subsequent project that I am developing is an investigation of Roman military networks in Egypt from the first to fourth centuries CE. From the reigns of Augustus to Diocletian, the Roman army is certainly one of the driving forces that shaped the Empire and reinforced its political power; however, the army is not a single entity and exploring its histories at the provincial, regional and regimental levels provides a better understanding of its influences in Egyptian society. I explore how Roman militarization had enduring impacts on the socio-economic and political climate of Egypt, through factors such as food outsourcing, environmental changes, economic networks and ritual activities. This project will culminate in my future second monograph.

Selected Publications

Forthcoming Monograph: Ringheim 2021. Mercenaries in the Eastern Mediterranean. Brepols Publishers.

H. Ringheim 2020. ‘Hera and the Sea: Decoding Dedications at the Samian Heraion.’ Studia Hercynia 23 (1), 11-25.

Abstract

The paper examines the Near Eastern and Greek dedications at the Sanctuary of Hera in Samos during the 8th to 6th centuries BC. Contextualising the types of dedications and their origins indicate the identity of the dedicators, and whether they were Samians, other Greeks or from the Near East. Much scholarship has been devoted to the Samian Heraion and this paper contributes to these discussions by tracing the socio-economic and political objectives of the dedicators and bringing different theories into a single narrative. The paper presents a selection of votive dedications and connects them to four comprehensive themes and functions: firstly as a political act between states; as a display of social power; the growing trade routes and role of sanctuary markets; and finally, the other modes of contact that emerged, such as mercenaries and pirates. Overall, the Samian Heraion played an essential role as a timely crossroads between the East and West, where the dedication practices shed light on the various groups of dedicators.

H. Ringheim 2019. ‘Mediterranean Influences on Ceramics from the Small-scale Settlement of Al-Qarah al-Hamra.’ Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections (23), 78-99.

Abstract
This paper explores the ceramic repertoire of Al-Qārah al-Ḥamrā, a small settlement in the Fayyūm, on the north shore of Lake Qārūn, dating from the Hellenistic to Early Roman period. A selection of significant typologies of local wares is discussed and contributes to the picture of what activities occurred at the site. The paper further contributes to the understanding of the infiltration of Greek ceramic shapes and influences, the impact this had on a local community, and the transition to Early Roman wares. The ceramics also evince the trade connections between the Fayyūm, and the rest of Egypt and the Mediterranean, indicating the extent of exchange and communication outside the Fayyūm. Such analysis is particularly relevant considering the paucity of archaeological data from small-scale Fayyūm settlements. Comparisons with Karanis, Tebtunis, and other larger sites point to a similarly diverse repertoire of materials and further stress the interconnectedness of this region.

H. Ringheim 2019. ‘The Pharaoh’s Fighters: Early Mercenaries in Egypt.’ In A Stranger in the House – Crossroads III. Prague, Charles University. Eds. J. Mynarova, et al. 341-354.

Abstract

This paper addresses one of the fundamental ways in which foreigners and Egyptiansinteracted during the third to second millennium: as foreign soldiers in the Egyptian army. Fre-quently it is suggested that these are mercenaries hired by the Egyptians; however, how accurateis this identification? When does a non-local fighter become a mercenary? To approach thesequestions, the paper examines specific examples from tomb inscriptions that document Nubianand Egyptian interactions and the circumstances that led to Nubians in the Egyptian military.The discussion then looks at the later Shardana contingent of the so-called Sea Peoples in the13thto 12thcenturies BC and the varying types of exchanges with the Egyptians, based on walliconography and texts. The process in which the Shardana infiltrate the Egyptian military sug-gests that in certain circumstances, they evince characteristics of mercenaries. The evidenceexemplifies the first instances when armies relied on foreign hires, a phenomenon that thenresonated throughout antiquity.

Forthcoming. Ringheim 2021. ‘Greek Mercenaries: An Archaeological Perspective.’ In A Companion of Greek Mercenaries in the Classical Mediterranean and Hellenistic World, Warfare in the Ancient Mediterranean World Series. Edited by T. Fujii, D. Gómez-Castro, and M. Trundle. Brill.

Forthcoming. Ringheim 2021. ‘Attic Imports and Imitations at Kom Wasit and Kom al-Ahmer.’ In Kom Wasit and Kom al-Ahmer Excavations. Forthcoming Volume. Edited by M. Kenawi and G. Marchiori.

Book

A Stranger in All Lands: Mercenaries in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Brepols Publishers, forthcoming 2021.

For centuries, mercenaries have been known to participate in warfare and crimes in return for pay. They have contributed to numerous historical and political events from antiquity until modern times. There is certainly much insight to gain from tracing the foundations of this profession in antiquity and its socio-political and cultural impacts on society. Looking at the earliest examples of mercenaries in antiquity, these external hires were essential tools for success, with lasting socio-economic impacts on local communities. The circulation of mercenaries further speaks to the wider mobility and migration of people in antiquity, as well as the events that triggered such movements. This book investigates the origins of the mercenary profession as early as the third millennium until its ubiquity in the fifth century BCE in the Aegean, Egypt and Levantine littoral, through archaeological and textual evidence that illuminates where, when and why mercenaries emerge in such environments.

Excavations

Kom el-Ahmar/Kom Wasit Archaeological Project | (2019-2021)

Northeast Fayyum Lakeshore Project, Egypt | (2017-2021)

Lefkandi Excavation, Greece | (2016-2017)

Athenian Agora, Greece | Assist. Supervisor (2014-2016), Archaeologist (2012-2013)

Hala Sultan Tekke, Cyprus | (2018)

Konya Regional Survey Project, Turkey | (2017)

Tel Kabri Excavations, Israel | (2009, 2011)

Tel Megiddo Excavations, Israel | (2010)