Roman Archaeology

Hoard of Roman coins and jewellery found near Cadeby, South Yorkshire. © A.M. Chadwick, courtesy of Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery.
Hoard of Roman coins and jewellery found near Cadeby, South Yorkshire. © A.M. Chadwick, courtesy of Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery.

The Roman Empire has left a wide and fascinating legacy from Britain, across Europe and the Mediterranean and into the Near East, Egypt and North Africa.

The sites, structures, art, landscapes and materials of the Roman world have long been core archaeological themes at the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester. Both staff and postgraduates are pursuing critical new research on a variety of aspects of Roman control, living and identity, whether in urban, rural, household, military or religious contexts, and across many geographical zones.  Major field and research projects are exploring in particular the diversity of Rome, her impacts and her legacies, both within the Empire and beyond. We also link with the archaeological unit, ULAS, whose work has transformed our understanding of the city of Leicester from Roman to early modern times.


Core Staff

Penelope Allison; Neil Christie; Colin Haselgrove; Simon James; David Mattingly; Sarah Scott; Adam RogersJeremy Taylor.

Staff interests and research projects span from Roman Britain to late antique Italy, to coinage and economics, urban and rural landscape evolution, and art and imperialism. Transitions and interactions are particular themes, such as the passage from Iron Age into Roman rule, and the movements of ideas and goods into and out of the Empire.


Key Research Projects


Publication Highlights

Allison, P. (2013). People and Spaces in Roman Military Bases. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Allison, P. (2006). The Insula of the Menander in Pompeii III: The Finds, a Contextual Study. Oxford, Clarendon Press.

Christie, N & Augenti, A. (eds) (2011).  Urbes Extinctae. Approaches to Abandoned Classical Cities. Aldershot, Ashgate

Christie N. (2006). From Constantine to Charlemagne: An Archaeology of Italy, AD 300-800. Aldershot, Ashgate.

Haselgrove, C. (2016). Cartimandua's capital? The late Iron Age royal site at Stanwick, North Yorkshire, fieldwork and analysis 1981–2011. York, CBA Monograph 175.

Haselgrove, C. (ed) (2009). The Traprain Law Environs Project: Excavations and Fieldwork 2000–2004. Edinburgh, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph.

James, S. (2011). Rome & the Sword: How Warriors & Weapons shaped Roman History. Thames & Hudson, London & New York.

Mattingly, D. (2011). Imperialism, Power and Identity Experiencing the Roman Empire. Princeton University Press.

Mattingly, D. (2006). An Imperial Possession. Britain in the Roman Empire. London, Penguin History of Britain.

Taylor, J. (2007). An Atlas of Roman Rural Settlement in England. London, CBA Research Report 151.


Exploring Roman Archaeology at Postgraduate level

Roman archaeology and history are central to our postgraduate teaching and there is a dedicated MA in The Classical Mediterranean. The wide-ranging content reflects the full spectrum of staff expertise and draws on current research, theory and new material finds. This MA programme attract students from far afield, including Canada and the US. Our expertise enable us to supervise an array of Roman-related topics. Our PhD students come from across the UK and Europe, and also include students from the US and Canada as well as from Libya. PhDs on Roman themes can be undertaken campus-based and by distance learning.  Former successful Roman PhD students of the School include Drs Jen Baird (now lecturer at Birkbeck), Rob Witcher (Durham),  Paul Newson (Beirut), Alexandra Livarda (Nottingham) and Katie Huntley (Boise, Idaho). Recently completed PhD theses include studies on Vici and Forts along Hadrian’s Wall (Andrew Birley); The Decline of Towns in Late Roman Britain (Gavin Speed); The figurative programme of the Trajan friezes in the Imperial Forums of Trajan and Caesar (Laura Nicotra); Late Roman to Byzantine Sicily: Settlement, Church and Economy (Denis Sami). Current students are exploring topics such as Roman-German Interactions on the Lower Rhine (Sergio Gonzalez Sanchez); Arable Practice in the Iron Age and Roman East of England (Kate Parks); and Propagandist town planning between the Republic and the Principate: Caesar, Pompey and the attainment of consent (Eleonora Zampieri). For further details see our list of current postgraduate research students and their topics.

We welcome applications from UK, EU and International students for doctoral research with the School. PhDs in Ancient History can be undertaken by both campus-based study and Distance Learning, or a blend of the two. See also further information on our Postgraduate Study programmes.

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