Profile: Miranda Gronow
Miranda (2019, DPhil Archaeology) previously studied MPhil Archaeology at Univ before starting her DPhil this year. She is a John Monash scholar and Junior Dean, as well as WCR Diversity, Equality and Welfare Officer. Outside of College, she is a member of Queen’s College choir and the Schola Cantorum of Oxford.
Why did you decide to do an MPhil and then continue studying with a DPhil?
I’m an archaeologist, and always knew that I wanted to take my archaeology to a really high level. My MPhil and DPhil simply allow me the space and time to develop my archaeological thinking through research projects, but also through my field practice on Oxford projects, such as Aphrodisias. I’m trying to prepare as best I can for a life back in public sector archaeology and heritage management back in Australia.
Give your specialist subject elevator pitch.
In short – what happens inside standing classical ruins, once they become ruins? Can we trace any of this activity archaeologically?
What is working on the Aphrodisias excavation like?
Aphrodisias is a site in Turkey that I have spent the past two summers working on. It’s primarily known for its Imperial Roman and Late Antique remains, but the site was continuously inhabited from the Hellenistic Period to the twentieth century. Aphrodisias is quite simply a massive field operation, quite unlike any I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve worked on sites in Israel but the bulk of my field experience comes from commercial sites in Melbourne, where you’d be working with a maximum of 20 people at a time. Aphrodisias has a field archaeology team, a conservation team, an architectural team … It’s wonderful to work with lots of different specialists, and I have learnt a lot about the practicalities of working on a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the kinds of things that you have to consider when you are presenting an archaeological site to the public.
What else do you enjoy doing apart from your DPhil in Oxford?
I spend a lot of time singing in a few different choirs around Oxford (I won’t specify quite how much as my supervisor may read this!). I also row for Univ and play for the Oxford Australian Rules Football team.
Has anything surprised you about Oxford? Have you faced any challenges adjusting to postgraduate study and the city?
The biggest challenge for me has been balancing my relationships back home (Australia) with my rather immersive life in Oxford. I think the one thing that I can never really get across to people is just how far away my home is – I can’t pop home in the middle of term to see my friends or catch up with my parents.
Do you have any advice for prospective undergraduate or postgraduate students?
Don’t try to get caught up in the hype of how busy everyone seems to be – enjoy Oxford and work at your own pace, and don’t let other people’s hysteria make you unhappy!
How do you feel about the celebration of 40 years of women at Univ?
One of my favourite authors has always been Dorothy Sayers, who was one of the women who finished her degree (in 1915) but was not actually allowed to matriculate until 1920. Now that I live here, her descriptions of life for Oxford women in the early twentieth century have brought home how much the introduction of co-education has really transformed Oxford, patently for the better.
Women at Univ 2019. Celebrating 40 years of achievement by women students, academics and staff, and recovering the history of women in the College from 1249 to the present day.
Published: 19 November 2019