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Fribourg profile

Classical archaeology deals with the Mediterranean Basin in Antiquity, and in particular the Greek and Roman world from the Minoan period to the end of the Roman Empire.
Archaeology investigates the material and iconographic evidence left by past civilisations: architecture, sculpture, urban planning, painting, mosaics and small objects (bone artefacts, glass, pottery, gems, money, etc.), as well as the information supplied by bioarchaeology, earth and material sciences (paleopathology, analysis of organic and non-organic products), and written sources. The PhD course is mainly in French and German, but theses may also be written in another language (such as English or Italian).

At the University of Fribourg, the Archaeology domain is at the crossroads of various disciplines (art history, ancient history, philology, literature, philosophy, anthropology, history of religion, etc.). The multidisciplinary approach gives candidates a grasp of the different aspects of Greek and Roman culture in both the material and imaginary dimension. Candidates are given in-depth training in systems of visual representation, the strategies of which vary depending on the support (pottery, intaglios, wall paintings, mosaics, etc.). Social history and how ancient economies functioned are the principal themes of current research, with particular emphasis on the culture of play, votive, divinatory and magical practices, the history of the body and medicine, and the history of children and women. The history of collections and the reception of antiquity at later periods are also addressed.

The Archaeology domain encourages basic research as well as work with a more practical approach. Besides writing a thesis, numerous additional opportunities are open to candidates, such as taking part in and/or organising seminars, study days, field trips, exhibitions, teaching, etc.

The PhD course is accompanied by a varied doctoral programme, which enables candidates to enhance their skills and build the national and international network of contacts crucial for an academic career. These regular scientific meetings are an invitation to deepen, develop and propagate knowledge of the past.

The PhD consists in writing and defending in public a piece of research written by the PhD student in close collaboration with his/her thesis supervisor (and co-supervisor). By way of example, theses are currently being written on the following subjects in the Archaeology domain:

  • Anthropology of the image: study of the agency of children in classical Greek pottery
  • Archaeology of the economy: places of trade in the Iberian Peninsula, food-related practices
  • Archaeology of the family and kinship
  • Archaeology of medical practice in Italy and the Roman provinces
  • Artistic transfer and cultural interactions (amulets, astrological iconography, engraved stones, from ancient Egypt to the end of Antiquity)
  • Spatial and visual strategies of religion
  • The different players in artistic and architectural production (artisans, sponsors, etc.)
  • Archaeology and bioarchaeology (paleopathology, isotopic analysis, analysis of organic products, etc.)

Professors who are eligible to supervise theses

  • Prof. Véronique Dasen

Areas of specialisation:
– Greek and roman iconography and material culture (Greek pottery, intaglios, etc.)
– Archaeology and anthropology of ancient play culture
– Archaeology and anthropology of the body (medicine and health, corporal customs and practices)
– Archaeology and iconography of magical and votive practices, astrology
– Material culture and iconography of women, children, gender studies

  • Prof. Nathan Badoud

Areas of specialisation:
– Archaeology of the Rhodian world
– Archaeology of the economy
– Amphorae and amphora stamps
– Relations between Rome and the Greek world
– Sculpture and its function

  • PD Dr. Ulrich Schädler

Areas of specialisation:
– Architecture and sculpture (portrait)
– History of play culture
– History of archaeological collections
– Ancient urban planning

Theses can be supervised in French, German, English or Italian.

Studies organisation

Structure of studies

No ECTS credits can be earned.

Doctoral school



In order to be admitted to a doctorate the candidate must have been awarded an academic bachelor's and master's degree or an equivalent qualification from a university recognised by the University of Fribourg.

Before applying for a doctorate the candidate must contact a professor who would be willing to supervise the thesis work.

There is no general right to be admitted to a doctorate.

The respective conditions of admission for each doctoral study programme are reserved.