Rachael Helen Banes

Rachael Helen Banes

Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies
Doctoral Researcher

Contact details

Title of thesis:  Scratch That: A Comparative Approach to the Sociology of Graffiti in Late Antiquity c. 300-750 CE


  • BA Ancient History (University of Birmingham 2017)
  • MA Antiquity: Byzantine Studies Pathway (University of Birmingham 2018)


After first being enthralled with the Byzantine Empire following a family holiday to Istanbul in 2012, I was determined to study the topic further. After my undergraduate degree, I completed my MA in Byzantine Studies in 2018.

Outside of my studies, I am interested in how digital archives can be used to make historical sites and objects accessible for the general population, as well as record the state of at-risk sites. In 2016, I received the Edes and Ravenscroft travel bursary, to fund field-work in Greece to take photos and record the preservation of churches in Mystras. Developing this project, I now run the Flickr page Christian and Byzantine Art and Archaeology which hosts images I have taken from ancient and medieval sites in Greece and Italy. 

Doctoral research

PhD title
Scratch That: A Comparative Approach to the Sociology of Graffiti in Late Antiquity c. 300-750 CE
Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)


My thesis has two facets, the first being the creation of a catalogue of graffiti in the late antique east, c. 300-750 CE. The catalogue will draw from archaeological reports and other corpuses to create a detailed guide to graffiti from the period, including their location, date and a transcription.

The second facet of this thesis is the interpretation of this data, to construct an understanding of the sociological and cultural reasons for graffiti, what it represented for late antique communities. I will incorporate theory about modern graffiti to understand the motivations and social values ascribed to graffiti, and whether or not the attitudes towards, and uses of, graffiti varied throughout the east.