Arja Karivieri


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Works at Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies
Visiting address Wallenberglaboratoriet, Lilla Frescativägen 7
Postal address Institutionen för arkeologi och antikens kultur 106 91 Stockholm Stockholm

About me


My research interests include the topography of Athens, Roman architecture (especially the archaeology of Pompeii), mosaics, pottery (especially Greek and Roman oil lamps), sculpture; art and cultural policy in the age of Emperor Hadrian; Early Christian architecture and the use of spolia, as well as the cultural change in Late Antiquity.

My doctoral dissertation presented different aspects of the production of terracotta lamps in Athens from the 3rd to the 7th century AD, i.e. iconography, chronology, the organization of the lamp workshops, trade and local copying of Athenian lamps in different parts of the Late Roman world.
My studies on iconography include imperial portraits of the Early Roman period, iconography of oil lamps and mosaics. Though small objects, aimed for everyday use, lamps can give us important information about the ideological change in ancient society. Discus motifs on oil lamps reflect the changing attitudes in Late Antiquity, when Christianity became the main religion in the Mediterranean world: mythological motifs were successively abandoned and Christian symbols, as well as geometric, neutral motifs became dominating.
My studies on architecture include, for example, Pompeian architecture, Late Roman villas and houses, Early Christian churches and the reuse of pagan and profane structures for church building.

Current projects, selection

I have continued lychnological studies by publishing, among others, two studies on the ancient lamps at the Museum of Classical Antiquities at the Lund University, and I will publish the lamp finds from the Swedish excavations at the garden of the Villa of Livia at Prima Porta, and at the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Kalaureia, Poros.

Since 2003, I am the president of the International Lychnological Association, ILA, an association that promotes the study of ancient lighting. ILA arranges a large triennial international congress and thematic round-tables in cooperation with museums, universities and other institutions.

I am a member of the executive committee of the Swedish Pompeii project since 2000, and I will publish the so-called House of Caecilius Iucundus in cooperation with Dr Renée Forsell from the Lund University. The fieldwork has been completed, and archival studies conducted since 2007. The field documentation and archival studies have already resulted in several studies (see and an on-line publication of field documentation sheets on the website of the Swedish Pompeii Project ( as preparation for the final publication of the project. Results of our study in the House of Caecilius Iucundus will also be presented in the exhibition “Pompeji” at Millesgården, Lidingö, 20 September 2014-18 May 2015 (

Since 1999, I am the director of the excavation project of the Finnish Institute at Athens in an Early Christian Church at Arethousa in Northern Greece, where Finnish, Swedish and Greek scholars and students of Classical Archaeology participated in the fieldwork between 1999-2004. The results of the Arethousa project will be published in the publication series of the Finnish Institute at Athens.


International Lychnological Association (

The Swedish Pompeii project (

The Arethousa project (; for the presentation of the fieldwork in 1999, see (


A selection from Stockholm University publication database Show all publications by Arja Karivieri at Stockholm University

Last updated: March 23, 2018

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