Charlotte Spence

Department: Classics and Ancient History
Discipline: Classics and Ancient History

Project Summary

For an insight into one of my most recent research projects you can follow this link:

I originally applied to the Univeristy of Exeter for the MA by Research  degree within the department of Classics and Ancient History. After a year of part time study it was suggested that I formally 'upgrade' my research to the PhD pathway. After the successful completion of the 'upgrade' process in Novemeber 2019, including viva voce my project is now evolving into a full PhD thesis. 

The title of my current research is: Conceptions of the Dead and Divine in Curse Tablets and Binding Spells

I focus on a variety of different conceptualisations of the roles of the dead and the divine in these tablets and including examples from such an inclusive time period means that changes in conceptions can be tracked.

The material I study comes from across the Mediterranean and is not limited to lead tablets. Papyri handbooks from Roman Egypt are analysed alongside metal inscribed tablets from Bath and figurines from Roman, Egyptian, and Greek locations. Chronolgocially my project covers material from the late sixth century BCE through to c. the late seventh century CE. 


Supervisory Team

Primary Supervisor: Professor Daniel Ogden

Additional Supervisors: 

Doctor Irene Salvo (Leventis Postdoctoral Research Associate in Hellenic Studies)

Doctor Emma Nicholson 

Previous Supervisors: 

Doctor Katherine McDonald 

Wider Research Interests

I studied my Undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham in BA Ancient History. This course was particularly interesting because it brought in aspects of both Egyptian and Near Eastern history as well as the traditional Greek and Roman history. The modules I undertook on numismatics and Egyptian temple structure provided the foundation for research interests I still persue and encorporate into my research. 

My undergraduate dissertation was entitled: Greek Personal Religion: How and Why did Individuals Seek to Construct Relationships with the Gods? It focused on votive offerings, the use of oracles and oracle tablets, and curse tablets as different ways in which a relatioship with the gods could be constructed and maintained. 

Authored Publications/Reports

C. Spence (6th February 2020) The Myth of the Silent Under-Classes in Ancient Greek and Roman Religion, Question Journal , 4

J. Guthrie, C. Spence, and E. Tzoka (17th July 2022) Report of Durham/ ICS Digital and Practical Epigraphy Course 4-8 April 2022, The Stoa: a Review for Digital Classics

C. Spence (12th August 2022) Curse Tablets: Magical Handbooks and Binding Spells, The Classics Blog

C. Spence (September 2022) Review of Living and Cursing in the Roman West: Curse Tablets and Society by Stuart McKie, Current World Archaeology Magazine, 115, 56-57

C. Spence (11th October 2022) Change and Continuity in Curse Tablets from the Roman World, Nemo non metuit: Magic in the Roman World, 53-99

C. Spence (August 2022) Review of The Scent of Ancient Magic by B. Agar, Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft, 17, 357- 359