Prof Simon James


Professor of Archaeology

BSc, PhD (London), FSA

Tel: 0116 252 2535



Simon James read archaeology at the London Institute of Archaeology, where he also took his PhD, by which time the Institute had become part of University College, London. He moved to the British Museum, first as an archaeological illustrator and then as a museum educator, responsible for programmes relating to the later prehistoric and Roman collections. After a decade at the British Museum, he decided to seek a career in research and teaching. Having held a Leverhulme Special Research Fellowship at the University of Durham, he joined the School in January 2000, was promoted Senior Lecturer in 2002, and Reader in 2005. In April 2012 he was awarded a personal chair. He was the School's Director of Research 2012-14.

Simon's main research areas relate to ancient conflict, especially in the Roman world and contemporary societies in Europe and the Middle East.  He is on research leave until the summer of 2017, funded by the University and the Gerda Henkel Stiftung. completing publication of his research on the major urban Roman military base at Dura-Europos, Syria, conducted in 2005-10. His previous work on the military archaeology of Dura included identification of probable use of 'chemical warfare' during the final siege of the city c.AD256.

He is also now coordinating the School's involvement in excavations near Caerwent as part of the tri-Service Operation Nightingale, providing archaeological fieldwork opportunities to help injured soldiers in their recovery, and is now academic advisor to the UK's tri-Service Defence Archaeology Group.

He is currently developing a new pilot research programme in Cyprus, the Ancient Akrotiri Project.


Form 2011 to 2016 he was also a member of the University of Leicester-based team conducting the Leverhulme Trust-funded research programme on the Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain

In 2012 Simon was invited to become President of the Ermine Street Guard.




Professor Simon James contributes to a range of undergraduate modules. He is Director of MA Archaeology of the Roman World. For PhD supervision topics, and past and present PhD students, see Research Interests.



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