Dr Margaret O'Hea

Dr Margaret O'Hea
 Position Senior Lecturer
 Org Unit School of Humanities
 Email margaret.ohea@adelaide.edu.au
 Telephone +61 8 8313 5344
 Location Floor/Room 8 ,  Napier ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    History Honours prepared Dr O'Hea for a doctorate on the transition from Late Roman Gaul to Early Mediaeval Francia, by using, as a cultural thermometer for change, both the idea and the reality of the villa in the Roman province of Aquitanica Prima, using archaeological material and textual evidence. How, why and at what point did the concept of the villa segue into the core of the mediaeval village? This research interest forced Dr O'Hea 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 her to Jordan, as a junior member of Sydney University's Expedition to Pella back in 1982/3. This experience, initially under the leadership of the Late A. W. McNicoll and Emeritus Prof. J. B. Hennessy, has fostered a life-long interest in the transition from Roman to early Islamic material culture in the region of the Roman Decapolis. She continues to be a member of this exciting and longstanding excavation project.

    From 1994-1996, Dr O'Hea co-directed jointly with Dr Pamela Watson, former Asst Director of the British Institute at 'Amman for Archaeology and History, the Pella Hinterland Project - 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.

    Dr O'Hea now teaches an archaeological field school in Jordan as part of her co-direction of the ancient Nabataean town of Zoara in the Ghor es-Safi. This excavation builds upon multi-national collaborative work at ancient Zoara under the general direction of Dr K. D. Politis (HSNES). In conjunction with the Jordanian Dept of Antiquities, the Late Antique and mediaeval social and economic history of this fascinating region is being explored through excavation.

    Apart from being a dirt (and sometimes dirty) archaeologist, Dr O'Hea specialises in the analysis of glass in the ancient Near East - how it was used, in what proportions to other media of utensils (pottery, metal), and how those uses changed over time and across regions. Most of this work is centred upon the Roman-Byzantine and early Islamic periods in Jordan, Syria and Palestine.

    She is also the Director of the Museum of Classical Archaeology at the University of Adelaide.

  • Qualifications

    BA Double Hons (Ancient History, Archaeology), The University of Sydney

    DPhil (Ancient History), Oxford

    (Click on link for digitised thesis)

  • Teaching Interests

    Dr O'Hea's interests in areas where archaeology meets historical research are reflected in the upper level courses which she runs:

    - Roman Art and Archaeology

    - The Archaeology of the Roman Provinces

    Pagans, Saints and Martyrs in Late Antiquity

    - Early Mediaeval Europe

    - Rome! Rise of Empire

    Like all Classics staff, Dr O'Hea co-teaches in the first year Classics courses, contributing lectures on Rome to CLAS 1003  Private Lives & Public Spectacles in Greece & Rome & CLAS 1004  The Ancient World in Film. She also contributes in a small way to Ancient Medicine and its Legacy and Alexander the Great and the Decline of Greece, as well as participating in the Honours programme. From 2011, she will co-teach the Roman Republican History course, which looks at the rise of Empire and Rome's cultural and political interactions with Carthage and Greece.

  • Research Interests

    • Roman and early Mediaeval in terms of periods
    • Archaeology and history in terms of disciplines and methodologies
    • Western Europe and the Near East in terms of regions
    • Glass in terms of material culture

    Some current projects

    (2007-2009) Co-director, Excavations at Khirbet es-Sheikh 'Isa (ancient Zoara)

    Glass specialist for -

    Jebel Khalid on the Euphrates in Syria (ANU and The University of Melbourne)

    The Survey of the Homs Region (University of Durham)

    Pella in Jordan (The University of Sydney)

    Islamic Jerash Project (The University of Copenhagen)

    Qasr Hallabat (Spanish Archaeological Mission to Jordan)

    The Roman Aqaba Project (Islamic glass only) (North Carolina State University)

    The Petra Great Temple Project (Brown University)

    Qasr el-Hayr es-Sharqi in Syria Project (Swiss-Lichtenstein Project)

    Kilise Tepe Byzantine Church in Turkey (Cambridge and Newcastle University)

    1960s Excavations at Jerusalem (Dame Kathleen Kenyon's excavations for the British School in Jerusalem)

    1937 Excavations of the Nabataean Temple at Khirbet Tannur (ASOR)

    Follow me on Academia.edu

  • Publications

    Recently submitted

    • "Glass" in Encyclopedia of Material Culture in the Biblical World/ Biblisches Reallexikon, A. Berlejung, G. Lehmann, J. Kamlah, M. Daviau (eds), 3rd edition, Teubingen (submitted Jan 2008 for 2010 publication)
    • "Chapter 15: the Glass 1998-2006", in M. J. Joukowsky (ed.), Petra: Great Temple Brown University Excavations 1993-2006, Vol. III Architecture and Material Culture, Brown University (submitted Dec 2007 for 2008/2009 publication)
    • "The Glassware", in J. McKenzie et al., Final Report on the 1937 Excavations of the Nabataean Temple at Khirbet Tannur, Jordan: Cult Offerings and Objects (ASOR Annual) (submitted 2006 for 2008/2009 publication)


    Publications Since 2000

    Some have been digitised and may be found in the University's Digital Library


    2014     A Lion-Bowl and Other Worked Stone Objects from Jebel Khalid. Mediterranean Archaeology 25 (2012): *-* (in press, out May 2014)

    2013   The Glass. Pp. 152-163 in G. W. Clarke et al., Jebel Khalid Fieldwork Report 2009-2010.  Mediterranean Archaeology 24 (2011): 131-182

    2012     V.6 The Glass. Pp. 293-316 in K. Politis (ed.) Sanctuary of Lot at Deir ‘Ain ‘Abata in Jordan Excavations 1988–2003.  ‘Amman: Jordan Distribution Agency in association with the British Museum

    2011 Another Look at the Origins of IA II Cast Glass in the Levant. Levant 43/2: 153-172

    2008 Greeks and Glass: the Role of Hellenistic Greek Settlements in the Eastern Mediterranean in Glass Production and Consumption. in Meditarch 18/19, (2006/07)


    2007 Glassware in Late Antiquity in the Near East. Pp.233-248 in L. Lavan et al. (eds), Technology in Transition A.D.300-650. Leiden: Brill

    2005  Late Hellenistic Glass from Some Military and Civilian Sites in the Levant: Jebel Khalid, Pella and Jerusalem. Annales du 16e congres de l'association internationale pour l'histoire du verre, London 2003: 48-52

    2003  Some Problems in Early Islamic Glass. Annales du 15e congres de l'association internationale pour l'histoire du verre, New York-Corning 2001, Nottingham: 133-137

    2002 Note on a Roman Milestone from Gadora (al-Salt) in the Jordan Valley. Levant 34 2002: 235-238

    2002 Glass from 1996-1997 Excavations at Pella. Pp. 519-525 in da Costa, K., O'Hea, M., Mairs, L., Sparks, R. and Boland, P., New Light on Late Antique Pella: Sydney University Excavations in Area XXXV, 1997. Annual of the Dept of Antiquities of Jordan 46: 503-533

    2002 Glass and Personal Adornment. Pp.245-273 in G. Clarke et al., Jebel Khalid on the Euphrates. Report on Excavations 1986-1996: vol. 1 (Meditarch Supplement No 5), Sydney.

    2001 Glass from 1992-4 Excavations. Pp.370-376 in Z. Fiema et al., The Petra Church, American Center for Oriental Research Publications, 'Amman.

    2000 The archaeology of somewhere-else: a brief survey of Classical and Near Eastern archaeology in Australia. Australian Archaeology 50: 75-80

    2000 Make-up, mirrors and men: some early Byzantine glass from Syro-Palestine. Annales du 14e congres de l'association internationale pour l'histoire du verre, Venezio-Milano 1998, Leiden: 219-222


    Jointly authored

    2013 Marii, F. and O’Hea, M.  A New Approach to Church Liturgy in Byzantine Arabia/Palaestinia Tertia: Chemical Analysis of Glass from the Petra Church and Dayr ‘Ayn ‘Abata monastery. Pp.319-326 in SHAJ XI: Changes and Challenges. ‘Amman: Dept of Antiquities of Jordan

    2012 Schibille, N., Degryse, P., O’Hea, M., Izmer, A., Vanhaecke, F. and McKenzie, J.. Late Roman Glass from the ‘Great Temple’ at Petra and Khirbet et-Tannur, Jordan - Technology and Provenance. Archaeometry 54.6: 997-1022

    2009 Politis, K. D., Sampson, A. & O'Hea, M.. Ghawr aṣ-Ṣāfī Survey and Excavations 2008-2009. Annual of the Dept of Antiquities of Jordan 53: 297-309

    2007 Politis, K. D., O’Hea, M. & Papaioannou, G.. Ghawr as-Safi Survey and Excavations 2006-2007. Annual of the Dept of Antiquities of Jordan 51: 199-211

    2006 Politis, K. D. and O’Hea, M.. Ghawr as-Safi Survey and Excavations. Munjazat 7: 79-81

    2006 Genequand, D. and O’Hea, M.. Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi: une ville neuve des débuts de l’Islam dans la steppe syrienne. Archeologie Suisse 29.3: 22-29


  • Professional Associations

  • Community Engagement

    • President of the Friends of the Museum of Classical Archaeology


  • Files

  • Media Expertise

    CategoriesHistory, Archaeology & Anthropology
    ExpertiseJordanian archaeology; Near Eastern archaeology; Roman archaeology; Hellenistic glass; Roman glass; Byzantine glass; Islamic glass; Nabataean archaeology; Decapolis; material culture of Late Antiquity;

The information in this directory is provided to support the academic, administrative and business activities of the University of Adelaide. To facilitate these activities, entries in the University Phone Directory are not limited to University employees. The use of information provided here for any other purpose, including the sending of unsolicited commercial material via email or any other electronic format, is strictly prohibited. The University reserves the right to recover all costs incurred in the event of breach of this policy.

Entry last updated: Tuesday, 29 Mar 2022

To link to this page, please use the following URL:  https://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/margaret.ohea