Dr. Chelsea Gardner

PHONE: 902 585-1695
SOCIAL MEDIA: Academia.edu / Twitter: @archaeoctopus


I am a Classical Archaeologist specializing in the history and material culture of ancient Greece, Rome, and the broader Mediterranean world. I arrived at Acadia University in Fall 2019, after working at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB. My PhD (Classics: Classical Archaeology) and MA (Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology) degrees are both from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. My BA degree (Classics & Religious Studies) is from McMaster University in Hamilton, ON.

My research is centered around archaeological exploration in southern Greece. I work in the Mani peninsula, just south of ancient Sparta, and am currently the co-director of The CARTography Project (https://cartographyproject.com), a Digital Humanities mapping project in which we analyze and recreate the routes of early modern travellers. I am working on a book on the site of ancient Tainaron, the mythical entrance to the ancient Greek Underworld and the location of a famous sanctuary to Poseidon throughout classical antiquity. I am also interested in ancient and modern cultural identity, ancient religious space, the history of travel, archaeological survey, women in the ancient world, animals and nature in antiquity, landscape studies, and Digital Humanities. One of my projects that I'm most proud of is called Peopling the Past (https://peoplingthepast.com), and it produces free audio, video, and blog resources for learning about real people who lived in the ancient Mediterranean world; I host the Peopling the Past podcast, and we just finished airing our third season!

Check out my research on Tainaron, the entrance of the ancient Greek Underworld, here:

Take a look at the results from the first season of the CARTography Project, here:

Listen to the Peopling the Past podcast here:



My teaching covers many areas of the ancient Mediterranean, including the history of the Graeco-Roman world from the prehistory to late antiquity; mythology, religion, and sacred space; women, gender, and sexuality; and Latin. I specialize in courses on archaeological topics, such as: Introduction to Archaeology (CLAS 1803); Greek and Roman Art and Archaeology (CLAS 2663 and 2673); Archaeology of Daily Life (CLAS 2733); and Greek Sanctuaries (CLAS 3663).

I believe in a hands-on approach to teaching and learning, both within the traditional classroom as well as on archaeological field projects, study abroad opportunities, and through workshops and other public-facing activities. My primary goal as a teacher is to enable my students not only to think analytically and critically about the texts and material culture of the ancient world, but to contextualize this information from antiquity and to apply it in a way that helps us better understand the modern world we live in.

My teaching is also rooted in the instruction of the Digital Humanities, and I incorporate skills like website-building, database management, social media interaction, and artifact digitization into the classroom so that I can provide valuable training that will benefit students in their future careers. Ultimately, I believe that students learn best when challenged, informed, and inspired, and I strive to achieve all three both inside and outside of the classroom.

Select Undergraduate Classroom Projects

Introduction to Archaeology: In this course, students participate in weekly labs around campus and learn about digital scanning, 3D printing photogrammetry, aerial imagery, pottery conservation, and more! Here some of the students hard at work in Acadia's SteamSpace:

Women in Antiquity:  A collaborative project for the study of women in the ancient world; contributions by undergraduate students in courses on women, gender, & sexuality in antiquity (CLAS 3123). One student'spage about Women in Attic Vase Painting won an Acadia WGST CFUW award!

WikiEducation: I teach with Wikipedia in many of my undergraduate courses (Introduction to World Mythology, Classical Greece: State and Society; Rome: Republic and Empire; Ancient Sparta and Modern Identity) and students work on improving Wikipedia instead of writing a traditional research paper. These assignments provide an opportunity for students to engage with impactful research that will affect global knowledge on various topics. One student's entry on Black Soup appeared as a "Did You Know?" feature on Wikipedia's homepage!

Select Digital Projects

Interactive Visual Map of Rome on Instagram by Nick Despres

North African Circus Mosaics website by Janan Assaly

Ownership of the Colour Purple in the Roman Empire website by Sydney Young

Ancient Roman Gladiators downloadable worksheets by Matthew Hovey

The Amphitheatre of El Djem website by Luna Nishiyama

Damnatio Memoriae website by Cheryl MacKinnon

Ancient Roman Theatres website by Sarah Acacia