Professor Simon James


Professor of Archaeology

BSc, PhD (London), FSA, FHEA

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2535



Personal details

BSc, PhD (London), FSA, FHEA

I read archaeology at the London Institute of Archaeology, where I also took my PhD. I spent ten years at 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, before returning to university research and teaching. Having held a Leverhulme Special Research Fellowship at Durham I joined the School in January 2000, was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2002, Reader in 2005 and Professor in 2012.  Since 2012 I have also been President of the Ermine Street Guard.

Coursework guide


I contribute to a range of undergraduate and MA modules on campus and by Distance Learning, mostly on Roman themes, and offer a specialist Level 3 campus option in violence in antiquity..

For students I have also produced a guide to coursework presentation tips & hacks:



My main interests are Rome and its neighbours societies from Ireland to Iran, ancient conflict, and visual representation in archaeology. I direct the collaborative international Ancient Akrotiri Project in Cyprus, a venture in maritime archaeology. My long-standing research interest in Dura-Europos, the Pompeii of the East also continues.

Research Student Supervision

Topics for Supervision:

  • The archaeology of conflict and military institutions, especially 'the Roman Army'
  • The archaeology of the Roman provinces and related cultures
  • The representation of the past, especially in visual media

Current research students

Past research students

  • Prof Jennifer Baird, Professor of Archaeology, Birkbeck, London, UK (graduated 2006, thesis title: 'Housing and households at Dura-Europos : a study in identity on Rome's Eastern Frontier')
  • Dr John Cater, currently President, Aztec Archaeological Consultants LLC, Aztec, New Mexico, USA (graduated 2007, thesis title: 'Anasazi violence : a study of patterns and interpretation of meaning')
  • Dr Andrew Birley, Director of the Vindolanda Trust, Northumberland, UK (graduated 2010, thesis title: 'The nature and significance of extramural settlement at Vindolanda and other selected sites')
  • Dr Hayley Dunn (graduated 2014: 'Roots of the British 1000 BC - AD 1000: Histories, Genetics, and The Peopling of Britain' (jointly supervised with Prof Mark Jobling, Genetics)
  • Dr Anna Walas (graduated 2014: 'Use of space in Roman military bases')
  • Dr Sergio Gonzalez Sanchez (graduated 2016: 'Rome and the ‘Barbarians’: Martial Interaction and mutual influence across/beyond the northern frontiers of the Empire')
  • Dr Botan Maghdid (jointly supervised with Naoise Mac Sweeney; graduated 2018: 'Historiography and Politics: Twentieth-Century Arab Scholarship On Antiquity')



James, S.T., L. Blue, A. Rogers and V. Score 2021. 'From phantom town to maritime culturaI landscape and beyond: Dreamer's Bay Roman-Byzantine 'port', the Akrotiri peninsula, Cyprus, and Eastern Mediterranean maritime communications,' Levant.

James, S.T. and S. Krmnicek (eds), 2020, The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Roman Germany, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

James, S.T., 2019, The Roman Military Base at Dura-Europos, Syria: An Archaeological Visualisation, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

James, S.T., 2018. 'Warriors, war and weapons, or: arms, the armed, and armed violence', in Colin Haselgrove, P.S. Wells and K. Rebay-Salisbury, Eds, Oxford Handbook of the European Iron Age, Oxford, OUP (digital publication Sept. 2018), 1-24.

James, S.T., 2015 '‘Visual competence’ in archaeology, a problem hiding in plain sight,' Antiquity 89:347, 1189-1202.

James, S.T., 2014, 'The "Romanness of the Soldiers": Barbarized Periphery or Imperial Core?' in L. Brody and G. Hoffman, Eds, Roman in the Provinces: Art on the Periphery of Empire, Boston, MacMullen Museum of Art, 91-107.



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