• Chair and Associate Professor of Classics
  • Chair, Archaeological Studies
  • Irvin E. Houck Associate Professor in the Humanities


  • Bachelor of Science, Randolph-Macon College, 1996
  • Master of Arts, Univ Maryland College Park, 1998
  • Master of Arts, University Michigan Ann Arbor, 2004
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University Michigan Ann Arbor, 2005


Drew Wilburn (Andrew T. Wilburn) has been teaching at Oberlin since 2005.  His research focuses on the archaeology of ancient magic in the Roman Mediterranean and village life in Graeco-Roman Egypt.

While at Oberlin, Drew has taught courses in ancient history, Greek and Latin, including Magic and Mystery in the Ancient World, The Ancient City, Wild and Crazy Emperors, Egypt after the Pharaohs, the History of Greece, the History of Rome, the Roman Historians (in Latin), and Thucydides and Lysias (in Greek).  

As a PhD student at the University of Michigan, Drew was a regular member at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens and a Fulbright Fellow to Cyprus. Drew has excavated at a number of ancient sites in the Mediterranean, including the Athenian Agora, Corinth, Tel Kedesh and Caesarea in Israel, and Abydos in Egypt.

Drew’s book, Materia Magica: The Archaeology of Magic in Egypt, Spain and Cyprus came out in Mary 2013. You can find it here. Special thanks are owed to the talented and dedicated OC undergraduates who worked with Drew as research assistants: Ploy Keener (’09), Chris Motz (’09), Eush Tayco (’09), Gabe Baker (’10), Lauren Clark (’11), Laura Wilke (’11), and Emily Thaisrivongs (’12).

Focusing on three sites in the Mediterranean - Karanis in Egypt, Amathous on Cyprus, and Empúries in Spain - Drew attempts to discover magic in the objects of daily life from antiquity. He suggests that individuals frequently turned to magic in their daily lives, particularly in times of crisis. Local forms of magic may have varied, and the only way that we can find small town sorcerers is through the careful examination of archaeological evidence.

Drew is excited to be embarking on a number of new projects, some of which involve students in his research. Recently, Drew has been studying the role that magic plays in architecture, investigating the placement of protective features in houses and other buildings. Drew is thrilled to be working on a collaborative project with former student Ryan Reynolds (OC ’14) and current students Miranda Rutherford, Samantha Mater and Olivia Fountain to create a GIS map of the site of Karanis in Egypt, excavated by the University of Michigan from 1924-1935. Preliminary results of the work can be found at the Karanis Housing Project website: gis.karanishousingproject.org