Peter Haarer
Lecturer in Ancient History


As an undergraduate I read ‘Archaeology and Ancient History and Greek’ at the University of Bristol after which, wanting to broaden my experience, I spent two years in the steel industry. I returned to academia and completed my D.Phil. in Ancient History at Balliol College, Oxford before moving on to post-doctoral research on early alphabetic Greek writing at the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents. Most recently I have enjoyed tutoring undergraduates in Classics, Ancient & Modern History, and Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at a number of colleges in Oxford, and joined Trinity in October 2015.


I tutor a wide variety of papers on the ancient history and archaeology of the Greek world, ranging in time from the Early Iron Age to the end of the Classical Period.


My research interests are two-fold. My doctoral thesis (‘Obeloi and Iron in Archaic Greece’) addressed changes in the perception of iron during the period ca. 1100-500 B.C. and questions the orthodox model for the transition from bronze to iron in the eastern Mediterranean. My interest in iron has continued and as an invited specialist I am preparing for publication the finds of iron billets from the Kyrenia shipwreck of the early third century BC. These billets give an important rare glimpse into how iron was produced and traded during this period.

My other research interest is the emergence of alphabetic Greek writing. As part of my work at the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents I used the Anne Jeffery Archive as the core of a web-based research tool for the study of archaic Greek inscriptions (Poinikastas). Research in progress includes the study of “retrograde” letters in archaic Greek inscriptions combined with work on letter frequency as a comment on the degree of design in the Greek alphabet, and the probability with which it was the result of broad, informal experimentation in writing across the Greek world and beyond, rather than the work of a single inventor or product of a single source.

Selected Publications

2013: Entries for the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Ancient History on: Alkmaionidai, Bacchiadai, Basileus, Demos, Dorieus, Hesiod, Iron, Kypselus, Symposium.

2004: (the web-based publication of the Anne Jeffery Archive).

2001:“Problematising the Transition from Bronze to Iron” in Shortland, A., ed. The Social Context of Technological Change, Oxbow Books.