Prof Neil Christie

NC finds columns at late Roman OstiaProfessor of Archaeology (Medieval)

BA, PhD (Newcastle upon Tyne), FSA, SFHEA, University Distinguished Teaching Fellow

Tel: +44 (0)116 2522617


Personal details

Prior to joining the Archaeology and Ancient History team at the University of Leicester in 1992, I was both an undergraduate and then doctoral student in Archaeology at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne; subsequently I held a Scholarship at the British School at Rome and then was employed there to prepare a major excavation report for publication (Santa Cornelia). I returned to Newcastle as a Sir James Knott Fellow (to research late Roman Italy), and then held a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship with the Institute of Archaeology, Oxford, to work on a volume on the Lombards.

Since 1992, I have duly risen in the ranks at Leicester to Senior Lecturer and then to Reader (now called 'Associate Professor') in Archaeology; I was promoted to Professor status in August 2017. My primary administrative duty in the school is as Postgraduate (Research) Tutor overseeing all research postgraduates.

I currently serve as PGR Director for the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, overseeing support for PhD students across the college (I also undertook this role in 2015-17). I am also one of the Site Directors for the Midlands3Cities doctoral partnership funded by the AHRC. In addition, I am co-director of the university's Medieval Research Centre.

Beyond Leicester, I am Reviews Editor for the journal Medieval Archaeology and for the journal of the Medieval Settlement Research Group.



I teach on various courses at all levels of undergraduate degrees in Archaeology and in Ancient History and on Master's courses. I supervise a number of doctoral research students in the school, including distance learning-based.




Interpreting Transformations in Society and Landscapes in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Edited with Pilar Diarte-Blasco. Oxbow Books, Oxford, 2018.

Fortified Settlements in Early Medieval Europe: Defended Communities of the 8th-10th Centuries. Edited, with Hajnalka Herold). Oxbow Books, Oxford, 2016.

Wallingford: The Castle and the Town in Context. Edited by K. Keats-Rohan, N. Christie and D. Roffe. BAR British Series 621. Archaeopress, Oxford, 2015.

wallingfordTransforming Townscapes. From Burh to Borough: The Archaeology of Wallingford, AD 800–1400. By Neil Christie and Oliver Creighton, with Matt Edgeworth and Helena Hamerow, and other contributors. Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph 35, London, 2013. Major monograph on the AHRC-funded Wallingford project: 2008-10.

War and Warfare in Late Antiquity: Current Perspectives (Late Antique Archaeology, Volumes 8.1, 8.2). (edited, with Alexander Sarantis). Brill, Leiden, 2013.

Vrbes Extinctae. Archaeologies of Abandoned Classcial Towns (ed. N. Christie & A Augenti), Ashgate, Farnham, 2012.

Medieval Rural Settlement. Britain and Ireland, AD 800-1600, edited N. Christie & P. Stamper. Oxbow Books/Windgather Press, Oxford, 2011.   see flier here

The Fall of the Western Roman Empire. An Archaeological and Historical Perspective. Bloomsbury Academic, London, 2010.  (see the Bryn Mawr Classical Review)

From Constantine to Charlemagne: An Archaeology of Italy, AD300-800. Ashgate, Aldershot, 2006 (598pp)N Christie - From Constantine to Charlemagne

(with P Beavitt, J Gisbert Santonja, J Segui, V Gil Senis) Ethnography and Archaeology in Upland Mediterranean Spain. Manolo’s World: Peopling the Recent Past in the Serra de L’Altmirant, 1994-98, Leicester Archaeology Monograph, 12, Leicester 2004. (194pp)

(editor) Landscapes of Change. Rural Evolutions in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, Ashgate, Aldershot 2004. (324pp)

Towns and Their Territories between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, (The Transformation of the Roman World, Volume 9), (eds. GP Brogiolo, N Gauthier and N Christie), ESF/Brill, Leiden, 2000.

Towns in Transition: From Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages, (eds. N Christie  and S Loseby), Scolar Press, Aldershot 1996.

The Lombards. The Ancient Langobards, Basil Blackwell, Oxford 1995.

Settlement and Economy in Italy, 1500 BC - AD 1500: Papers of the Fifth Conference of Italian Archaeology, (ed. N Christie), Oxbow Monograph 41, Oxford 1995.

Three South Etrurian Churches: Santa Cornelia, Santa Rufina and San Liberato, (ed. N Christie), Archaeological Monographs of the British School at Rome, Volume 4, London 1991.

Principal papers (1988-2016)

(with S Gibson) 'The city walls of Ravenna', Papers of the British School at Rome, lvi, 1988, 156-197.

'The archaeology of Byzantine Italy: a synthesis of recent research', Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, 2:2, 1989, 249-293.

'The limes bizantino reviewed: the defence of Byzantine Liguria', Rivista di Studi Liguri, lv, 1989, 5-38.collapsed porch at Santa Cornelia

'The Alps as a frontier, AD 168-774', Journal of Roman Archaeology, iv, 1991, 410-430.

'The survival of Roman settlement along the Middle Danube: Pannonia from the fourth to the tenth century AD', Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 11/3, 1992, 317-339.

'Barren fields? landscapes and settlements in late Roman and post-Roman Italy', in G Shipley and J Salmon (eds.), Human Landscapes in Classical Antiquity, London, 254-283.

(with J Lloyd and G Lock), 'From the mountain to the plain: landscape evolution in the Abruzzo. An interim report on the Sangro Valley project, 1994-5', Papers of the British School at Rome, lxv, 1997, 1-57.

'Towns, land and power: German-Roman survivals and interactions in fifth- and sixth-century Pannonia', in GP Brogiolo, N Gauthier and N Christie (eds.), Towns and Their Territories between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, (The Transformation of the Roman World, Volume 9), ESF/Brill: Leiden, 2000, 275-297.

'The castra of Paul the Deacon and the Longobard frontier in Friuli', in Paolo Diacono e il Friuli Altomedievale (secc. VI-X). Atti del XIV Congresso Internazionale di Studi sull’Alto Medioevo (Cividale del Friuli - Bottenico di Moimacco, 24-29 Sett. 1999), Centro Italiano di Studi sull'Alto Medioevo: Spoleto, 2001, 231-251.

'War and order: urban remodelling and defensive strategy in late Roman Italy', in L Lavan (ed.), Recent Research on Late Antique Urbanism, JRA Supplementary Series No.42, Ann Arbor, 2001, 106-122.A tower of the late Roman city walls at Barcelona, of c. AD 300

'On Bells and Belltowers. Origins and evolutions in Italy and Britain, AD 700-1200', Church Archaeology, 5-6, 2004, 13-30.

'Charlemagne and the renewal of Rome', in J Story (ed.), Charlemagne: Empire and Society, Manchester University Press: Manchester & New York, 2005, 167-182.

(with P Beavitt, JG Santonja, VG Senis and J Segui) 'Peopling the recent past in the Serra de l’Altmirant: shepherds and farmers at the margins', International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 11:4, Dec. 2007, 304-321.

'From the Danube to the Po: Late Roman Defence in Pannonia and Italy', in A Poulter (ed.), The Transition to Late Antiquity, on the Danube and Beyond (Proceedings of the British Academy vol.141) Oxford University Press: Oxford & New York, 2008, 547-577.

'Of sheep and men: castles and transhumance in the upper Sangro valley and in the Cicolano, Italy', in G Lock and A Faustoferri (eds.), Archaeology and landscape in central Italy. Papers in memory of John A Lloyd (Oxford University School of Archaeology: Monograph 69), Oxford, 2008, 105-120.

'No more fun? The end of amphitheatres and games in the Late Roman West', in Wilmott T. (ed.),  Roman Amphitheatres and Spectacula: a 21st-century perspective. Papers from an international conference held at Chester, 16th-18th February, 2007, British Archaeological Reports International Series 1946, Archaeopress: Oxford, 2009, 221-232.

(with O. Creighton, M. Edgeworth & M. Fradley), ‘Have you found anything interesting?’ Exploring early medieval and medieval urbanism at Wallingford: sources, routes and questions’, Oxoniensia, lxxv, 2010, 35-47.

‘Safe in their homes? Reflections on defending towns and populations in northern Italy, AD 350-450’, in R. García-Gasco, S. González Sánchez & D Hernández de la Fuente (eds), The Theodosian Age (AD 379-455): Power, Place, Belief and Learning in the Last Century of the Western Empire (British Archaeological Reports International Series 2493), Archaeopress: Oxford, 2013, 123-131.

‘Wars within the frontiers: archaeologies of rebellion, revolt and civil war’, in A. Sarantis & N. Christie (eds.), War and Warfare in Late Antiquity: Current Perspectives, (Late Antique Archaeology 8.2). Brill: Leiden, 2013, 927-968.

(with G. Bellosi, A. Granata, N. Pisu and P. Baker), ‘The late antique and early medieval habitat and church on the Monte S. Martino, Riva del Garda district, north Italy’, Medieval Settlement Research, 28, 2013, 9-17.

‘Becoming Christian, being Christian in early medieval Europe’, in M. Boulton, J. Hawkes & M. Herman (eds), The Art, Literature and Material Culture of the Middle Ages: Transition, Transformation and Taxonomy, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2015, 59-79.

‘Reflections on late antique towns: issues of age, infirmity and role’, in M.C. Parello & M.S. Rizzo (eds), Paesaggi urbani tardoantiche. Casi a confronto. Atti delle Giornate Gregoriane VIII Edizione (29-30 novembre 2014), Edipuglia, Bari, 2016, 223-229.

Late Roman and Late Antique Italy: from Constantine to Justinian’, in A. E. Cooley (ed.), A Companion to Roman Italy, Blackwell-Wiley: Oxford & New York, 2016, pp.133-153.

(with R. Hodges), 'Anxious abbots? Questions of defence and monastic communities in early medieval Europe’, in N. Christie & H. Herold (eds), Fortified Settlements in Early Medieval Europe: Defended Communities of the 8th-10th Centuries. Oxbow Books, Oxford & Philadelphia, 2016, pp.139-157.


NC and M Wood at Kibworth sml.jpg

My main research areas cover late Roman to medieval archaeology, with a special interest in the late Roman Empire, in Italy and in urbanism, plus in themes such as defences and church archaeology.

I have undertaken much fieldwork, with projects in Italy (such as at the road-site Roman site of Cesenatico between Rimini and Ravenna; and from 2011-13 at the San Martino hilltop site near Tenno on lake Garda) and from 2008-2011, in England at the late Saxon and Norman town of Wallingford in south Oxfordshire.

The latter wasahrc an AHRC funded project, which employed an array of techniques to explore the plan and contents of the site from its late Saxon roots through Norman castle building to later medieval decline. See the Wallingford Burh to Borough Project (with major project monograph publication in 2013) for more information.


Topics available for PhD supervision

  • Late Roman archaeology
  • Early medieval and medieval archaeology
  • Urbanism
  • Defence
  • Late Roman and early medieval Christianity

Learn more about studying for a PhD with us

Current students

  • David Cardona, thesis topic: Catacombs in Context: A Maltese Investigation
  • Graham Aldred, thesis topic: Worth their place? A multi-disciplinary study of the social and political significance of particular places in Anglo-Saxon Mercia
  • Claudia Eicher, thesis topic: Religious Transition in the Late Antique Countryside: Agency, Identity, and Change in Lugdunensis Senonia (Gaul)
  • Javier Williams, thesis topic: Visigothic period buckles: portable wealth in late antique Spain and Western Europe
  • Roberta Ferrante, thesis topic: An Architectural and Social Archaeology of Roman Baths and Bathing in Eastern Sicily: The Public and Private Thermae of Catania in Context
  • Mariele Valci (M3C funded; based at University of Nottingham, NC as co-supervisor), thesis topic: The Economy of Medieval Rome: A Numismatic Perspective
  • Alessandro Carabia (M3C funded; based at Birmingham University, NC as co-supervisor), thesis topic: Frontier Archaeology: Byzantine Liguria

Past and recent successful PhD students

  • Dr Brittany Thomas. topic: Ravenna as a Capital: Art and Display as a Discourse in Late Antiquity and Beyond (First supervisors - PhD passed Jan. 2018)
  • Dr Matthew Mandich: The Growth and Extent of Rome: From Fringe to Suburb (First supervisor - PhD awarded 2017)
  • Dr Glen Farrugia: The Presentation and Interpretation of Malta's Early Christian Heritage: Past, Present and Future (PhD awarded 2017)
  • Dr Eleanora Zampieri: Propagandist town planning between the Republic and the Principate: Caesar, Pompey and the attainment of consent (PhD awarded 2017; NC as 2nd supervisor)
  • Dr Jess McCullough: Belief and Practice in Early Norse Greenland (PhD awarded 2017; NC as 2nd supervisor)
  • Dr Antonino Crisa: Archaeology in northern Sicily during the post-Unification period (1861-1915). A historical reconstruction based on a study of the sites of Tindari, Lipari and Tusa. (Supervisor - PhD awarded 2016)  Now postdoctoral Fellow at University of Warwick
  • Dr Chantal Bielmann: Society and Identity/Identities: Religion, Church, and Urbanism in Switzerland AD 300-800. (Supervisor - PhD awarded 2014)    Employed with Researcher development team at University of Leicester.
  • Dr Gavin Speed: Towns in the Dark? Archaeologies of urbanism from late Roman Britain to Anglo-Saxon England. (First supervisor - PhD awarded 2013). Current position: Senior Supervisor, ULAS
  • Dr Martin Sterry: Evolving States: Power and Communities in Adriatic Central Italy from 600 BC - AD 100. (PhD awarded 2010). Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow 'Trans-Sahara', University of Leicester
  • Dr Denis Sami: From Theodosius to Constans II: The Settlement and Economy of Late Roman and Byzantine Sicily (AD 379-688). (First supervisor - PhD awarded 2011)  Employed with Oxford Archaeology East.
  • Dr David Morgan: Archaeology of Transylvanian Fortified Churches. (Supervisor - PhD awarded 2009)
  • Dr Matilda Holmes: Food and status in Saxon and Scandinavian burhs. (Co-supervisor - PhD awarded 2011)

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