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Faculty of Classics

The Cutting Edge: Hierarchies of Hair in the Greco-Roman World, Saturday 23 September 2023, 1-3pm

What’s in a hairstyle? How does a beard make the man? And how did Roman women pull off those elaborate coiffures we see in statues?


Join us for a hair-raising extravaganza, where we will be exploring the power and potential of hair in the Greco-Roman world!


We pile meaning on our hair, changing the cut, style and colour to influence how the world sees us – and how we see ourselves. Hair is always with us and is a part of our body which we can modify at will. And if this is true today, it was also true in the ancient past. So for one afternoon only, we’re going to be getting hands-on with ancient hair and embodying the styles of the classical past here in our atmospheric Cast Gallery.

  • Live haircutting! Our experts and professionals will be styling up a storm as you watch, as we cut and style the hair (and beards!) of our willing volunteers, while our historians are on hand to answer your questions.  
  • Free face painting! You don’t need to have a beard to wear a beard – we’ll paint it on.
  • Bold beards and bewitching braids! Our family trail helps you find out even more facts about hair while you explore our gallery.
  • Cut it out! Hands-on crafts so that you and your littles can make your own beards and accessories to take home.



  • Mary Harlow, expert on ancient women’s hairstyles, will be doing up-dos of dizzying heights.
  • The stylists at douce in Eddington will be shaving and trimming some willing volunteers into their sculptural models gathered round.
  • Candy Floss Cove will be providing colourful interpretations from ancient faces to yours, via the artistry of face painting.
  • There will also be commentary by some historians working on hair: Lea Niccolai, Dawn LaValle Norman and Miles Pattenden.


This event is supported by the University of Cambridge Museums Collections in Action Funding and is produced in association with the Godly Grooming conference at CRASSH and the Hierarchies of Hair project.

Fancy volunteering for a hair cut or style? Find out more...




No need to book:

Just drop in.


Find out more about Museum Access...

Saturday, 23 September, 2023 - 13:00 to 15:00
Contact phone: 
01223 330402
Event location: 
Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cast Gallery

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