CAMS is the study of cultures that arose and flourished around the Mediterranean basin (including Egypt, Greece, Rome, Anatolia, Israel, Mesopotamia, and North Africa) from ancient Mesopotamia (ca. 4000 BCE) to the end of Greco-Roman antiquity (ca. 600 CE). CAMS investigates the whole scope of the ancient Mediterranean world and trains students to interpret the linguistic, historical, and archaeological evidence of its cultures.
The Department of Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS) at Penn State is devoted to fostering an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion for all who study the ancient world. As an open and welcoming academic community, we embrace a view of the ancient Mediterranean and its legacies as the common heritage of all people, regardless of gender, color, race, nationality, religion, age, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
In keeping with our conviction that scholarship on antiquity benefits from a multiplicity of voices and perspectives, CAMS supports diversity in research areas, classroom activities, and above all in its membership, especially among groups historically under-represented in the field.
We affirm Penn State’s commitment as a public institution of higher education to effectively serve the members of our communities at all levels – on campus, across the state, and beyond – and we welcome the input of our students, colleagues, and friends as we pursue this goal.
Congratulations to LeMhai Baity, our spring 2023 Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies student marshal in Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts!
LeMhai is the daughter of Regan Mckinney-Baity and LeMorris Baity of Akron, Ohio. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in Anthropology and Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies. At Penn State, LeMhai worked in Professor Jose Capriles and Laurie Eccles’ Radiocarbon Lab, Professor David Puts’ Behavioral Endocrinology and Evolution Lab, and the Matson Museum of Anthropology. She was also a member of Lambda Alpha PSU, the central Pennsylvania chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America, and Penn State Archery Club. After graduation, LeMhai plans to attend graduate school at a university abroad to pursue a master’s degree in classical archaeology.
Prof. Mathias Hanses
Explore African cultures in the Ancient Mediterranean! This brand-new class examines Egypt, Carthage, and Nubia in interaction with Ancient Greece and Rome. Join us as we explore both the ancient primary evidence and the modern discourses that have excluded, and at times reintegrated, African cultures in studies of Ancient Mediterranean history.
Meet the newest member of the CAMS faculty: Dr. Hannah Smagh specializes in Greek archaeology and the material culture of Greek religion. She has excavated at several projects in the Mediterranean, including Samothrace, Corinth, and the Molyvoti, Thrace, Archaeological Project in Greece and Selinunte in Sicily. Her research interests include gender, identity, and ethnicity in the Mediterranean world, slavery in the ancient world, Greek urbanism, cultural exchange, and digital humanities. Her current book project focuses on the practice of religion in the Greek house. Welcome, Dr. Smagh!
We are happy to announce that Dr. Michael Beshay will be joining the CAMS faculty in the Fall of 2022. Dr. Beshay writes: “I’m a scholar of religions of late antiquity who specializes in the history of early Christianity. My research centers on several interconnected topics, including the development of authoritative traditions; their transmission and reception in diverse artifacts and across confessional boundaries; the significance of ritual and “magic” for the production of novel religious idioms; and the legacies of so-called “heretical” Christians within the beliefs and practices that emerge as “Orthodox.” I explore these dynamics relative to the ritual traditions surrounding the Virgin Mary and King Solomon–two prominent figures whose authorities span multiple religious communities and represent layers of cultural innovation and conflict.”