Penelope Allison

  • Tuesday 13 June 2017
  • 5.30pm-6.30pm
  • Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 1
  • Professor Allison and Professor Peter Jaffey will each present a half-hour lecture

From Maori ovens to the Roman table

In this lecture I will briefly outline my pathway to a career in archaeology. I will then examine the route that my research in Roman and Australian historical archaeology has taken and the major influences along that route. I will outline how this research has progressed from studies of Pompeian wall-painting that have provided some of the most well dated ancient paintings, but also the impetus to investigate Pompeian houses as lived space.

I will discuss how my investigations of Roman households led to my excavations and study of an Australian outback homestead, the Old Kinchega Homestead, and to investigating the roles of women and children in military space in Roman Germany. Finally I will discuss how this research has led to my recent interest in developing appropriate theoretical and technological approaches to investigating the millions of ceramic tableware remains across the vast Roman world. These are the ‘big data’ material remains that document the various ways in which people across that world interacted socially around eating and drinking.

Throughout this lecture I will emphasise the significance of artefactual studies in approaches to the social practices of people in the past whose voices are largely silent in standard histories – particularly in terms of the use of domestic space and gendered space. Throughout this lecture I would also like to emphasise the roles that passion, inspiration and support from others, and a bit of luck, have played in the development of my research and research interests.

Penelope Allison, Professor of Archaeology

pim gallery 200x266 AH.jpgPenelope Allison is a Professor of Archaeology in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, London, and of the Australian Academy of Humanities, and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

She has held several research fellowships at the University of Sydney and the Australian National University, and further visiting fellowships in the Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge and at St John's College, University of Durham, and at the National Library of Australia. She has previously taught archaeology and ancient history at the University of Sydney, the Australian National University and the University of Sheffield.

Her research focuses on household archaeology, and gender and space in Roman urban and military contexts, as well as in Australian historical archaeology. Her most recent research concerns Roman tablewares and social interaction around eating and drinking in the Roman world. She also has a keen research interest in digital applications in archaeology and archaeological publication. Her major publications include: The archaeology of household activities (Routledge 1999), Casa della Caccia Antica, Häuser in Pompeji vol 11 (co-authored with Frank Sear - Hirmer, 2002), Pompeian Households: An Analysis of the Material Culture (The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, 2004, reprinted 2005); The Insula of the Menander in Pompeii III: The Finds, a Contextual Study (Clarendon Press, 2006); and People and Spaces in Roman Military Bases (Cambridge University Press, 2013). The three most recent monographs each have a companion open-access research resource. The Pompeian households on-line resource receives some 100,000 hits annually.

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