Jordan Dopp

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“The Long Antiquity: An Archival Study of Unpublished Wall Paintings in Nabataea, 1st Century BCE–2nd Century CE”

ACOR-CAORC Predoctoral Fellowship, 2021–2022

University of Georgia, Athens, GA (U.S.A.)
Lamar Dodd School of Art

Jordan Dopp is a PhD candidate at the University of Georgia specializing in ancient art, and is currently conducting an interdisciplinary study on Nabataean wall paintings from Petra, Jordan and its environs. She received her MA in Art History from UGA in May 2018 on ancient panel painting from Romano-Egypt. Jordan has participated in an archaeological excavation in Petra, Jordan (2018), and conducted research throughout Greece as part of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) (2019). Jordan also presented her research on wall painting at the 14th annual international wall painting conference, Association Internationale pour la Peinture Murale Antique (AIPMA) in Naples, Italy (2019). Recently, Jordan received the Willson Center Graduate Grant and Dean’s Graduate Award (UGA) to complete technical analyses of wall painting fragments at Georgia’s Electron Microscopy lab (2020). While her primary focus is on dissertation research, Jordan was also honored to receive the Outstanding Teaching Assistant award (2020). In her free time, Jordan loves to do stand-up comedy at local open mic nights.

The diverse corpus of wall paintings from civic, domestic, and funerary contexts in Nabataea adopted contemporary Greek and Roman styles, yet adapted them in culturally specific and historic ways. Contradicting Strabo’s claim in his Geographica (1st century BCE) that Nabataeans did not produce paintings (G. γραφὴ), a large corpus of fragmentary evidence and more than eight civic, domestic, and funerary contexts in the monumental core of Petra and its environs preserve comprehensive programs of high-quality paintings. This material at the unique intersection of the Greco-Roman, Near Eastern, and Arabic worlds has yet to be included in regional and broader discussions of ancient wall painting; rather, it has been summarily described as isolated, provincial, and ahistorical versions of common Greek styles (G. κοινή). Close examination reveals that Nabataean paintings are both technically-refined and unique, demonstrating complex cultural adaptations that merit further visual and technical evaluation. My dissertation research project seeks to recontextualize Nabataean wall paintings as distinct historical products that negotiate between local and Hellenistic visual idiom in Nabataea between the 1st century BCE-2nd century CE. This proposal seeks funding to investigate archival research at ACOR in Amman, as well as unpublished materials at the Petra Museum to enrich current, ongoing case studies, and to compose a database of both described and preserved wall painting fragments from Petra in six months, August 2021-February 2022.

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