Nicola Aravecchia

Nicola Aravecchia

Assistant Professor of Classics and of Art History and Archaeology
PhD, University of Minnesota
research interests:
  • Archaeology of the late Roman period
  • Early Christian art & architecture
  • Late antique Egypt
  • Early Egyptian monasticism
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    • Washington University
      CB 1050
      One Brookings Drive
      St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    Nicola Aravecchia's research interests include Archaeology of the late Roman period, early Christian art & architecture, late antique Egypt, and early Egyptian monasticism.

    Aravecchia joined the departments of Classics and Art History and Archaeology in January 2018. He earned his doctorate in art history and master’s degree in ancient and medieval art and archaeology, both from the University of Minnesota. His current work focuses on the origins and development of Early Christian architecture in rural Egypt. Since 2005, he has been involved in archaeological projects in the Dakhla Oasis, located in the Western Desert of Upper Egypt. 

    Professor Aravecchia will be on leave for the 2020-2021 academic year.

    recent courses

    Art in the Egypt of the Pharaohs (Art-Arch 3211)

    A penetrating study of the artistic achievements in ancient Egypt during the Old, Middle and New Kingdom (c. 3000-1100 B.C.) The great monuments of Egypt will be considered both for their aesthetic importance and as expressions of the superior culture developing, flourishing, and declining in the pristine valley of the Nile.

      Art & Archaeology of Cleopatra's Egypt (Art-Arch 3212)

      This course is an introduction to the art and archaeology of Egypt from its conquest by Alexander the Great (332 BCE) to the early fourth century CE. It will examine the rich and multi-faceted history and artistic legacy of Egypt under the Ptolemies and their last queen Cleopatra, followed by the Roman conquest under Emperor Augustus up to the flourishing of Egyptian Christianity. Students will become familiar with a wide range of ancient sources, including documentary and literary texts, coins, architecture, paintings and sculpture.

        Beginning Latin I (Latin 101D)

        An introduction to Latin, the language of Ancient Rome and the European Middle Ages and Renaissance, and the most important source of English medical and scientific terms. Beginning with the foundations of Latin grammar, students will work towards developing reading knowledge with the goal of reading literary texts. Students who have already begun their study of Latin should consult the Chair of the Department.

          Ain el-Gedida: 2006-2008 Excavations of a Late Antique Site in Egypt's Western Desert

          Ain el-Gedida: 2006-2008 Excavations of a Late Antique Site in Egypt's Western Desert

          ‘Ain el-Gedida: 2006-2008 Excavations of a Late Antique Site in Egypt's Western Desert is a presentation of primary evidence from an archaeological dig at ‘Ain el-Gedida. ‘Ain el-Gedida dates to the 4th century and is a uniquely important archaeological site for the study of early Egyptian Christianity; it is also a rare example of a type of Late Roman rural settlement that was previously known only from written sources.

          The authors first present the data collected during excavations of various buildings and rooms at ‘Ain el-Gedida; in the second half of the book, specialists on the ‘Ain el-Gedida research team catalog and describe what was found at the site: ceramics, coins, ostraka, and zooarcheological remains.

          An Oasis City

          An Oasis City

          Scattered through the vast expanse of stone and sand that makes up Egypt’s Western Desert are several oases. These islands of green in the midst of the Sahara owe their existence to springs and wells drawing on ancient aquifers. In antiquity, as today, they supported agricultural communities, going back to Neolithic times but expanding greatly in the millennium from the Saite pharaohs to the Roman emperors. New technologies of irrigation and transportation made the oases integral parts of an imperial economy.

          Amheida, ancient Trimithis, was one of those oasis communities. Located in the western part of the Dakhla Oasis, it was an important regional center, reaching a peak in the Roman period before being abandoned. Over the past decade, excavations at this well-preserved site have revealed its urban layout and brought to light houses, streets, a bath, a school, and a church. The only standing brick pyramid of the Roman period in Egypt has been restored. Wall-paintings, temple reliefs, pottery, and texts all contribute to give a lively sense of its political, religious, economic, and cultural life. This book presents these aspects of the city’s existence and its close ties to the Nile valley, by way of long desert roads, in an accessible and richly illustrated fashion.