Podcast: Raising Hair

A universal experience, hair has often formed a fundamental part of human self-expression and identity. But how can we see changes in hairdressing and styling throughout history and how can experimental reconstruction help us start creating a picture of the people of the past? Our guests Janet Stephens and Dorothee Olthof join us on this month’s Finally Friday to discuss their experiences understanding ancient hairdressing. 

Janet Stephens is a professional hairdresser and experimental archaeologist specialising in ancient hairdressing. Focussing mainly on ancient Greek and Roman hairstyling, although occasionally branching out into Renaissance and Victorian beauty, Janet uses a variety of literary and artistic sources to accurately recreate these hairstyles on live models. Janet’s research has been highlighted by the Wall Street Journal, BBC and NPR, and she also runs a popular YouTube channel showcasing her work.

Dorothee Olthof is an archaeologist and founder of PRAE, which specialises in archaeology and education with a focus on daily life in the past. As part of this interest in daily life, Dorothee has specialisms in prehistoric, Roman and medieval hairdressing, and she can often be found at festivals, workshops and open days demonstrating these skills to the public. Dorothee stresses the importance of experimental reconstruction and believes strongly in experiencing the past ‘with all senses.’

Phoebe Baker is the host of this show.