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Rubina Raja


Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae

Scientific focus areas

Urban development; iconography; portraiture; selfrepresentations; eastern Roman provinces and the Near East; Hellenistic to early Medieval periods; ancient religion; field archaeology; archaeology and natural science methods; high definition archaeology; complexity sciences


University employment

2015- Professor (chair), Classical Archaeology and Art, School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Since February 2015: Centre director of the Danish National Research Foundation's Centre of Excellence, Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) (http://urbnet.au.dk).

2012- Professor (with special assignments), Classical Archaeology and Art, School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University, Denmark.

March 2014 - July 2015: Head of the PhD programme for Archaeology, History and Classical Studies.

2009-12 Associate Professor, Classical Archaeology and Art, School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University, Denmark.

2007-09 Post-doctoral fellow, Department for Classical Archaeology, Institute for Anthropology, Archaeology and Linguistics, Aarhus University, Denmark.

2005-07 Post-doctoral scholar and teaching assistant, Klassische Archäologie, Archäologisches Institut, Universität Hamburg, Germany.

2002-05 Teaching assistant, University of Oxford, England (during DPhil studies).

2000-01 Research assistant, Sackler Library, University of Oxford, England.

1998-2001 Contract employed for shorter and longer periods of time by the Danish Ministry of Culture, 2nd office for Cultural Heritage, in order to prepare the revision of the Danish Museum Legislation, as well as the ratification of international conventions concerning the protection of cultural heritage. Danish Ministry of Culture, Nybrogade 2, Copenhagen, Denmark.



2005 DPhil, Classical Archaeology, University of Oxford, Lincoln College, England
(Internationalization PhD fellowship from the Danish Research Council)

Thesis title: Urban development and regional identity in the eastern Roman provinces, 50 BC - AD 250: Aphrodisias, Ephesos, Athens, Gerasa.

Main supervisor: Prof. R.R.R. Smith (University of Oxford), co-supervisor: Prof. M. Steinby (University of Oxford).

2000 M.St, Classical Archaeology, University of Oxford, Lincoln College, England
(Craven foundation grant; Lincholn College grant; UniBank grant, Bikuben stipend; Danish Institute in Damascus).

1999 BA, Classical Archaeology, Italian language, Cultural Communication and Journalism, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

1997-98 Exchange student, Universitá di Roma, La Sapienza, Italy

 (Fiedler grant; Elisabeth Munksgaard Foundation; internationalization grant from the University of Copenhagen).


Research management and management degree


2015 Copenhagen Business School, Executive Research Management Course

2008-2010 Diploma of Management
Forvaltningshøjskolen, Copenhagen/VIA University College, Aarhus.

Research projects supported by grants and external funding (PI and Co-PI)

2017- co-PI of the Italian-Danish excavations of Caesar’s Forum in Rome together with Dr. Jan Kindberg, The Danish Institute in Rome.

2015-2019 PI of the collective research project Ceramics in Context, funded by the Carlsberg Foundation, Copenhagen, Denmark.

2015- Director of the Danish National Research Foundation's Centre of Excellence, Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet), Aarhus University, Denmark.

2012- PI and director of the Palmyra Portrait Project, funded by the Carlsberg Foundation.

2012-2017 External Co-PI and co-director of the ERC Advanced Grant project Lived Ancient Religion,directed by Prof. Dr. Jörg Rüpke, Max-Weber-Kolleg, Universität Erfurt, Germany.
Webpage: https://www.uni-erfurt.de/en/max-weber-center/projects/cooperation-projects/lar-project/

2011- PI and director of the international excavation project The Danish-German Northwest quarter project in Jerash, Jordan, together with Prof. Dr. Achim Lichtenberger, Westfälische Wilhelmsuniversität Münster.
Research grants: Carlsberg Foundation, German Research Council (DFG), H.P. Hjerl Hansens Mindefondet for Dansk Palæstinaforskning. The project involves between 25-50 team members.
Webpage: http://projects.au.dk/internationaljerashexcavation/

2009-12 Co-PI of the project Transformation of religious identity in the Hellenistic-Roman World, 100 BC – AD 600: conversion and initiation, together with Ass. Prof. Anders-Christian Lund Jacobsen, Theology, Aarhus University. Velux Foundation.

2007-12 PI and director of the project Religious identity, ritual practice and sacred architecture in the Late Hellenistic and Roman period: the role of the sanctuaries between culture, religion and society. Research grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation.


Selected directorships, memberships and committees

2017- Member of the Scientific board for the Institute for Advanced Studies, Lyon, France.

2015- Elected member of the Young Academy of Europe.

2015- Elected member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Letters, Copenhagen, Denmark.

2015- Member of the scientific board for selection of AU fellows in the humanities for Aarhus Institute for Advanced Studies

2014- Member of the Steering committee of PastDial, the Nordic PhD school in Archaeology.

2014- Member of the Departmental Samarbejdsudvalg, Aarhus University, Denmark.

2014-15 Head of the PhD programme for History, Archaeology and Classical Studies, Aarhus University.

2013-14 Member of the Career Committee, European Open Science Forum (ESOF).

2013- Board member, Museum of Ancient Art, Aarhus University, Denmark.

2012-13 President of The Young Academy, The Royal Academy of Sciences and Letters, Copenhagen, Denmark.

2011- Member of The Learned Society, Aarhus University, Denmark.

2011- Member of The Young Academy, The Royal Academy of Sciences and Letters, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Since 2010 Served on search and review committees for foreign universities for postdoctoral fellows, assistant and associate professorships as well as professorships (including England, Germany, Norway). Served on several PhD committees nationally and internationally.

Since 2009 Peer-reviewer for a number of European research councils and institutes for Advanced Studies (including the Lithuanian, Norwegian, Portuguese and Swedish research councils, as well as European Science Foundation) and funding bodies, as well as international journals and publishing houses (including Antiquity, American Journal of Archaeology, Journal of Roman Studies, Levant and The German Archaeological Institute's publications).

Awards and prizes

2018/2019 Kershaw Lecturer, Archaeological Institute of America

2015 Distinguished lecturer in the Human Sciences, Max Planck Society, Berlin, Germany.

2015 Tagea Brandts award for female researchers, Copenhagen, Denmark.

2015 EliteForsk-prisen, awarded by the Danish Research Council and the Ministry for Research and Education.

2014 The Royal Academy of Sciences and Letters, silver medal and prize award, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Invitations received for International Advanced Schools and guest professorships (2013-2019)

2018/2019 Member/fellow, Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies.

2018 (July-September) Museum Scholar, J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Trust, Los Angeles, USA.

2018 (March/April) Guest professorship at the Sorbonne, Paris, France.

2017/2018 Fellowship, Morphomata, Cologne University (declined).

2014-15 Guest professorship at the Max-Weber Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien, Erfurt Universität, Erfurt, Germany.

2013-14 Guest professorship at Käte Hamburger Kolleg, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany (declined).

2013 (May) Guest professorship at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary.




 Raja, R. (2019): The Palmyra Collection: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (Copenhagen: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek). pp. 512.


Krag, S., Raja, R., Yon, J.-B. (2019): The collection of Palmyrene funerary portraits in the Musei Vaticani. Notes and observations. Bollettino dei monumenti musei e gallerie pontificie. Supplemento n. 4 (Vatican: Edizioni Musei Vaticani). pp. 135.


Raja, R. and Sørensen, A. H. (2015): Harald Ingholt and Palmyra (Aarhus: Fællestrykkeriet Aarhus Universitet). 68 pp. (Danish translation: Harald Ingholt og Palmyra (Aarhus: Fællestrykkeriet Aarhus Universitet). 68 pp.)


Raja, R. (2012): Urban Development and Regional Identity in the Eastern Roman Provinces, 50 BC – AD 250: Aphrodisias, Ephesos, Athens, Gerasa (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press). 273 pp.


10 selected recent articles with primary authorship (alphabetical order of authorship and sole-authorship)

Raja, R. (2019): “Reconsidering the dorsalium or ‘Curtain of Death’ in Palmyrene Funerary Sculpture: Significance and Interpretations in Light of the Palmyra Portrait Project Corpus” in Raja, R. (ed.), Revisiting the Religious Life of Palmyra, Contextualizing the Sacred 9 (Turnhout: Brepols), pp. 67–151.

Lichtenberger, A., Raja, R., Seland, E., Kinnaird, T. and Simpson, I. (2019): Urban-riverine hinterland synergies in semi-arid environments: Millennial-scale change, adaptations and environmental responses at Gerasa/Jerash. In Journal of Field Archaeology. https://doi.org/10.1080/00934690.2019.1625619

Stott, D., Kristiansen, S. M., Lichtenberger, A. and Raja, R. (2018): Mapping an ancient city with a century of remotely sensed data, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS) (www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1721509115).

Raja, R. (2018): Urbanising the Desert. Investigating the diversity of urban networks through the images of deceased Palmyrenes, in Urban Network Evolutions: Towards a high-definition archaeology, eds. Raja, R. and Sindbæk, S. M. (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press), 75–80.

Lichtenberger, A. and Raja, R. (2017): Mosaicist at work: The organisation of mosaic production in Early Islamic Jerash, Antiquity 90:358, 998-1010 (open acces: https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2017.66).

Raja, R. (2017): Powerful images of the deceased: Palmyrene funerary portrait culture between local, Greek and Roman representations, in Bilder der Macht: Das griechische Porträt und seine Verwendung in der antiken Welt, eds. Boschung D. and Queyrel, F. (Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink), 319–348.

Raja, R. (2017): Zeus Olympios, Hadrian and the Jews of Antiochia-on-the-Chrysorrhoas-formerly-called-Gerasa, Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology PB185, 171–195.

Lichtenberger, A. and Raja, R. (2016): A newly excavated private house in Jerash: Reconsidering aspects of continuity and change in material culture from Late Antiquity to the early Islamic period, Antiquité Tardive 24, 317–359.

Raja, R. (2016): In and out of contexts: Explaining religious complexity through the banqueting tesserae from Palmyra, Religion in the Roman Empire 2:3, 340–371.

Barfod, G., Larsen, J. M., Lichtenberger, A. and Raja, R. (2015): Revealing text in a complexly rolled silver scroll from Jerash with computed tomography and advanced imaging software, Nature Scientific Reports 5:17765 (open access: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep17765).

Lichtenberger, A. and Raja, R. (2015): New archaeological research in the Northwest Quarter of Jerash and its implications for the urban development of Roman Gerasa, American Journal of Archaeology 119:4, 483-500.