Miss Kathleen O'Donnell (MA MScR)

PhD Student - Classics

  • School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Contact details



School of History, Classics & Archaeology, William Robertson Wing, Old Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH8 9AG

Post code


I am a local to Edinburgh, and have been a student at the University of Edinburgh since 2010 when I started as an undergraduate in Architectural History. Throughout my first degree I became more interested in archaeology and classical architecture and moved into the archaeology MA in my second year. My undergraduate dissertation looked at the use and meaning of geometric patterns in Roman floor mosaics and was supervised by Professor Jim Crow. I then undertook a Masters by Research in Archaeology from 2014-2015 titled 'The Quarries of the Central Sector of Hadrian's Wall' under the supervision of Professor Jim Crow and Dr Ben Russell. During this time I became very interested in Hadrian's Wall and also using GIS in archaeology. I decided to start a PhD with the topic 'The Quarries of Hadrian's Wall: Materials & Logistics of a Large Scale Imperial Building Project' in 2016 and I am currently working on this in the Classics department with Dr Russell and Professor Crow supervising, with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Research summary

Roman Britain, Roman engineering, Roman Fronteirs, Landscape archaeology, GIS in Archaeology, Greek & Roman floor mosaics, Geoarchaeology, Petrology

Current research interests

My PhD is investigating Roman quarrying activity and stone extraction processes in the landscape surrounding Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, Cumbria and Tyne & Wear. I hope to better understand which types of stones were used and where they came from by using petrological testing. In addition GIS will be used to measure the scale of the known Roman quarries and to identify possible transportation routes. This work should provide an important step forward in the understanding of the stone sources for one of Rome’s best preserved frontiers, and the organisation of quarrying for building stone in Roman Britain.

Past research interests

The Quarries of the Central Sector of Hadrian’s Wall (MscR Dissertation) The Use & Meaning of Geometric Patterns in Roman Floor Mosaics (MA Dissertation)

Project activity

The Quarries of Hadrian's Wall: Materials & Logistics of a Large Scale Imperial Building Project

Current project grants

AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership