Sarah Beckmann

A photo of Sarah Beckmann
E-mail: Office: Dodd Hall 200E

I am a Roman archaeologist specializing in domestic art and archaeology. I am currently at work on my monograph, which re-investigates the villa phenomenon of the late antique period (mid-3rd to 5th c. CE). I treat the diverse material culture packages of villas in the western provinces as evidence for regional variations on late antique elite culture. Also and at the same time, my book project examines villa sites from the bottom up, so to speak, to bring greater attention to non-elite populations traditionally left out of archaeological discussions. In 2022-23, my research was supported by a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, where I was the Andrew Heiskell Rome Prize fellow in ancient studies.

Other research interests include the sculpture habit of late antiquity, and especially portrait traditions in provincial contexts; representations of women and enslaved children in domestic arts; and creation of ascetic space in the Levant, ca. 4th-5th c. CE. At present I work primarily with archival material and with the recovery and analysis of legacy data, but I have excavated throughout the Western Mediterranean in Greece, Italy, and France, and am always happy to chat about opportunities in the field.

I received my BA in Classical Languages from Carleton College in 2007 and my Ph.D. in the Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016, where I wrote a dissertation that investigated statuary assemblages found in the late antique villas. As a doctoral student I was the recipient of the AIA’s Archaeology of Portugal Fellowship (2014-15), and a Fulbright scholar in France (2015-16). I joined the faculty at UCLA in 2018, where I now teach courses in Roman visual and material culture at both the undergraduate and graduate level. I welcome questions from students at any level who are interested in pursuing material culture studies or incorporating material analysis into their own work! I am also happy to discuss career options outside of the academy with students pursing a Classics or Ancient Studies degree. Finally, I’m Faculty-in-Residence, so be sure to say hello if you catch me on the Hill!


Fiber, Art, and Feminism,The Hopkins Review 17.1 (2024) 137-49

Late Roman villae and the rus: Interrogating Rural Interdependencies in the Ebro River Valley (Navarra, Spain), Cuadernos De Arqueología De La Universidad De Navarra 32 (2023): 293-316

The Naked Reader: Child Enslavement in the Villa of the Mysteries Fresco, American Journal of Archaeology 127.1 (January 2023): 55-83

Marble Statuary and the Discourse of Display in Late Antique Aquitania, in Spätantike Ideal- und Portraitplastik. Stilkritik, Kontexte, naturwissenschaftliche Untersuchungen. Beiträge eines Workshop an der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg 13.–16. 6. 2018, ed. Gunnar Brands and Hans Rupprecht Goette (Reichert Verlag, Wiesbaden: 2023) 165-84

Portraits and Identity: ‘Roman’ and ‘Elite’ in the Late Antique Villas of Aquitania, Art Bulletin 104.1 (March 2022): 21-47.

The Idiom of Urban Display: Architectural Relief Sculpture in the Late Roman Villa of Chiragan (Haute-Garonne), AJA 124.1 (January 2020): 133-60.