Ivo van der Graaff graduated with a combined B.A and M.A. in Mediterranean Archaeology, focusing on Etruscan and Republican Italy, from the University of Amsterdam in May 2006. He subsequently attained his Ph.D. in Greek and Roman Art and Architecture from the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin in 2013. Between 2014-16 he was a Research Associate at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
His research focuses on the urbanization process and architecture of (pre-) Roman Italy with a particular emphasis on civic monuments. One particular avenue of his research looks at the development of fortifications and their role as monuments in urban environments. Since 2001 he has worked on a variety of field projects in Greece, the Netherlands, and Italy. He currently serves as the Field Director of the Oplontis Project which studies a luxury villa and a wine distribution center buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE. He also contributes to ongoing research projects in Italy including the region of ancient Etruria and Pompeii.