In memoriam: Dr Johanna Stöger (1957-2018)
On 19th August, we received the sad news that our dear colleague, Dr Johanna Stöger, has passed on. Hanna died, surrounded by family, at home in Southern Germany. She had battled her illness for some time, and for a while it looked as if treatment would be successful. Alas, Hanna’s recovery was to be short-lived, and, at the far too young age of 61 years, she has left us.
Hanna came to Leiden as a mature student in the Archaeology of the Mediterranean World, and quickly established herself as an enthusiastic scholar, with a strong critical mind and a passion for innovation. With characteristic energy, Hanna threw herself into a range of subjects, most notably Ostia, the renowned port city of the Roman Empire.
It was a foregone conclusion that Hanna would become a PhD. For her thesis, Hanna worked on a space-syntax analysis of a number of street blocks of Ostia. This study is illustrative of her scientific qualities: methodologically exploratory and innovative, but also immensely thorough and thoughtful. Her work in Ostia reached an international audience and quickly gained recognition and respect. Hanna’s thesis was later published in the ASLU book series and has been cited frequently, forming the basis for much research that has followed.
At Leiden, Hanna was not only a valued researcher, but a gifted teacher. After her defence, Hanna was to play an important role in the education programme, and her commitment to teaching, both in the field and in the lecture room, was considered exemplary. Those who wrote theses under Dr Stöger’s supervision will testify to her deep involvement in, and commitment to, their work. Working with students on their dissertations was more important to Hanna than her own success in publication.
Recently, Hanna reduced her teaching activities at Leiden, so that she could spend more time on a new project on the Archaeology of Bronze Age Greece. Again, her enthusiasm, and her critical and innovative thinking, were poured into her work. Sadly, her time on this project has been cut short.
Her beloved Ostia never truly disappeared beyond the horizon, and this very month, a thesis on water usage in Ostia - research led and nurtured by Hanna - has been approved, and we know that this made her very proud and happy.
The Faculty Community will remember Hanna most of all for her empathy. She was a colleague who cared deeply about the group as a whole, and tended to put her own interests second.
Many of those launching into a PhD career, hired a room in Hanna’s home on the Galgewater in Leiden. Here they found a safe place, from which to venture into the Faculty and into Leiden. In this respect too, Hanna was a link between colleagues, research groups and departments.
The Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden is grateful for the contribution that Dr Hanna Stöger made, and we will miss her terribly.
Miguel John Versluys
There is a condolence card for Hanna's family at the reception of the Van Steenis building. You may write a personal message on this card until Friday August 24.