Department of Classics and Archaeology

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Thea Sommerschield

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Faculty of Arts



I am a Leverhulme EC Fellow at the University of Nottingham. My main research interests lie in the application of Machine Learning to the epigraphic cultures of the Mediterranean world, to explore new ways of writing and thinking about ancient history.

Since obtaining my DPhil in Ancient History (University of Oxford), I have been a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow at Ca' Foscari University of Venice, CHS Fellow at Harvard's Center for Hellenic Studies, Research Innovator at Google Cloud, and Ralegh Radford awardee at the British School at Rome. I co-lead the Ithaca projects, and work on the socio-cultural history and inscriptions of Greek Sicily.

Expertise Summary

  • Ancient History
  • Greek epigraphy
  • Machine Learning for ancient languages
  • Ancient Sicily (c. 700 BCE - 300 BCE)
  • Greek religion
  • Ancient NLP

Teaching Summary

I regularly supervise students in Greek and Roman history, epigraphy, AI applications to ancient texts, languages and cultures, and would welcome students in these areas.

I have taught graduate and undergraduate courses and classes in the areas of Classics and ancient Greek and Roman history for the universities of Venice Ca' Foscari, Pavia, Ferrara and ISAW.

I actively contribute to service work and outreach initiatives, aiming to raise awareness about FAIR, open and bias-aware data for the study of the Ancient World.

Research Summary

I'm currently working across three collaborative R&D streams:

  1. The development of Artificial Intelligence methods for the study of the written cultures of the ancient world. Since 2017 I have been working with Google DeepMind to create an ecosystem of Machine Learning tools tackling different languages and aspects of the study of inscribed texts. I have received funding by the European Commission and the Leverhulme Trust, and the impact of our work has been widely recognized, featuring in international media (The Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais, New Scientist) and earning the cover issue of Nature.

  2. Research into AI bias in ancient world datasets, generating awareness, and encouraging collaboration in the fields of Computer Science and Ancient World Studies through a high-impact communication, dissemination, and advocacy strategy. Examples include collaborations with leaders in academia and industry, as a member of the Google Cloud Research Innovator cohort and through my active involvement in the organising committees of major scientific conferences (ML4AL at ACL 2024). Additionally, I regularly deliver invited lectures and talks at conferences (CIEGL 2022), as well as engage with the general public through school outreach, TV, and public radio interviews (RAI).

  3. Study of the epigraphic and funerary practices of migrant and indigenous communities in Archaic and Classical western Sicily. I was awarded the G. Nenci prize by the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa for best doctoral thesis on ancient Sicily, and I continue to work on the island's history as cooperation partner of the Consuming the East in Sicily project (funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF at the University of Vienna), where I am responsible for the study of the inscriptions on the transport amphorae from the necropoleis of Himera. I also enjoy publishing new epigraphic material from Himera and its hinterland.

Positions held

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of Nottingham - Leverhulme Trust 2024 - 2027

Google Cloud, Research Innovators cohort 2022 - 2024

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow, University of Venice Ca' Foscari 2021 - 2023

Fellow in Hellenic Studies, Harvard University - Centre for Hellenic Studies (CHS) 2021 - 2022

Ralegh Radford Rome Awardee, British School at Rome 2020

Craven University Fellow, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford 2017 - 2019



DPhil in Ancient History, Wolfson College, University of Oxford 2016 - 2021

MSt in Greek History, St Hugh's College, University of Oxford 2015 - 2016

Diploma in Humanities, School of Advanced Study of Pavia (IUSS) 2012 - 2016

BA in Classics, Ghislieri College, University of Pavia 2012 - 2015


Current service

2023 - 2024: Organising Committee - Machine Learning for Ancient Languages workshop, ACL Bangkok 2024.

2023 - : General editorial board - Current Epigraphy, Institute for Classical Studies, London.

2023 - : Editorial board - Digital Classicist, Institute for Classical Studies, London.

2023 - 2024: Program Committee board - Language Technologies for Historical & Ancient Languages workshop, LT4HALA Milan 2024.



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Department of Classics and Archaeology

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact details
Archaeology twitter
Classics twitter