Dug Full Circle: Archaeology’s New Face at RMC is Also a Familiar One

News Story categories: Alumni Archaeology Classics
Nadhira Hill headshot

Nadhira Hill ’16 knows the second floor of Fox Hall well. As an archaeology and classical studies double major, she took many courses in its classrooms and fondly recalls the department’s tradition of “Classics Tea” on Fridays and her close relationships to her professors.

When she returns to the familiar space in the fall of 2023, it will be as Professor Nadhira Hill, a tenure-track assistant professor in classics and archaeology.

“It’s strange to think about being in an office on the other side of the desk. It’s so surreal to think about going back to my alma mater, but as a different person,” Hill reflects.

Hill’s succession of Professor Beth Fisher in this role is a full circle transition for the pair, who were mentor/mentee and advisor/advisee for three years during Hill’s time as a student. She was a stellar scholar who graduated with honors, and was the recipient of a Society for Classical Studies Minority Summer Fellowship in 2016. She was selected as a Stavros Niarchos Foundation Summer Fellow twice.

“Nadhira is my colleague,” Fisher says, remembering back to her early days as a capable student. “She was my colleague from a couple of weeks after we got started.”

Hill left Randolph-Macon, inspired by her two digs at the Athenian Agora in Greece, with the intention of becoming an archaeology professor. She pursued her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, where she defended her dissertation this spring. Her research interests include the archaeology of ceramic production, drinking and dining culture, and domestic space in Classical Greece, and she has been part of the pottery team at the Olynthos Project in Northern Greece during that time. More recently, she is helping to break ground on a new excavation project at Alexander the Great’s capital, Pella, located northwest of Thessaloniki, Greece.

She is extremely grateful for those funded hands-on opportunities throughout her educational journey and feels aligned to the RMC ethos that encourages experience-based learning and teaching. “My own philosophy is that students can come with me and dig with me, or I can facilitate them finding other projects,” Hill says.

She also feels strongly about diversity and access, and sees a chance for a new era in the ancient field she studies. “The image of a classicist is a very specific kind of image – you think of Indiana Jones. We need to change that perspective. I have this opportunity to show people – I am a person that does this, and you can do this, even if you don’t look like Indiana Jones.”