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Faculty of Classics

 

Biography

Born and raised in La Spezia (Italy), I was educated at the University of Pisa, where I studied Classical Archaeology (specialising in ancient topography and landscape archaeology) and then pursued a PhD in Ancient History (with a project on the demography of Roman Italy). My very close engagement with British academia effectively started as an ERASMUS undergraduate student at the University of Leicester, and further developed as a visiting postgraduate student at the University of Cambridge. I joined the Faculty of Classics in 2009, first as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, then as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, and I was elected to a University Lectureship in 2013, becoming Senior Lecturer (now Associate Professor) in 2018.

Research

I am a classical archaeologist with an expertise in Roman archaeology, landscape archaeology and ancient topography. I have a specific research interest in the archaeology and history of ancient Italy, cast against the long-term political, cultural social and economic transformations of the broader Mediterranean world, from the Hellenistic/Republican period to Late Antiquity. I am especially fascinated by the dynamics of local continuity and change in response to broader historical processes, whether political, cultural or economic.

Much of my research lies at the intersection of archaeology and history (a reflection of my undergraduate and postgraduate studies), as I am indeed eager to combine material and textual evidence into an interpretive synthesis of higher level, as I have done for my research on the demography of Roman Italy and my current fieldwork project at the Roman town of Interamna Lirenas (Central Italy). In line with my strong interdisciplinary inclinations, I have since developed a most fruitful collaboration with colleagues from applied mathematics and computer science aimed at unleashing the immense processing power of computer-aided image analysis to the study and classification of archaeological objects and features.

I am also an active field archaeologist, with over 20 years of experience in the application of a whole range of methods and techniques, ranging from excavation to field survey, from geophysical prospection to digital recording and modelling of buildings and objects. Having engaged with very different archaeological and environmental contexts across Italy – from the uplands of Liguria to coastal Tuscany, from the hills of Marche to the lowlands of Latium – I am thoroughly aware of how meaningful the relationship between human groups and their environment may be, an aspect which my fieldwork is specifically aimed at exploring in both its urban and rural dimensions.

Publications

Key publications: 

Books

  1. (in press) (with M. Millett) Interamna Lirenas: a Roman Town in Central Italy Revealed. (McDonald Institute Monographs series). Cambridge.
  2. (2011) Peasants and Slaves. The Rural Population of Roman Italy (200 BC to AD 100) (Cambridge Classical Studies). Cambridge.

Articles/Chapters

  1. (2022) (with S. Parisotto, N. Leone, and C.-B. Schönlieb). Unsupervised clustering of Roman potsherds via Variational Autoencoders. In Journal of Archaeological Science 142. [Open Access]
  2. (2020) (with J.R. Patterson). New epigraphic evidence from the Roman town of Interamna Lirenas (Central Italy). In Epigraphica 82: 213-241.
  3. (2020) (with M. Millett, L. Verdonck and F. Vermeulen). Falerii Novi: the Ground-penetrating Radar survey of a Roman city. In Antiquity 94 (375): 705–723.
  4. (2019) Interamna Lirenas – a history of 'success'? Long-term trajectories across town and countryside (4th c. BC to 5th c. AD). In A.U. De Giorgi (eds.), Cosa and the Colonial Landscape of Republican Italy (Third and Second Century BC). Ann Arbor. 119-138.
  5. (2018) (with N. Leone) A view from the margin? Roman commonwares and patterns of distribution and consumption at Interamna Lirenas (Lazio). In Journal of Roman Archaeology 31: 323-338.
  6. (2018) (with L. Verdonck, F. Vermeulen and M. Millett) The impact of high resolution Ground-Penetrating Radar survey on understanding Roman towns: case studies from Falerii Novi and Interamna Lirenas (Lazio, Italy). In Proceedings of the 2018 IEEE International Conference on Metrology for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage. Cassino. 249-254.
  7. (2017) (with L. Verdonck, M. Millett, F. Vermeulen and G.R. Bellini) Semi-automated object detection in GPR data using morphological filtering. In AP2017: 12th International Conference of Archaeological Prospection 12th-16th September 2017, University of Bradford. 261-263.
  8. (2017) Something old, something new: social and economic developments in the countryside of Roman Italy between Republic and Empire. In T. de Haas and G. Tol (eds.), The Economic Integration of Roman Italy: Rural Communities in a Globalizing World. Leiden. 85-111.
  9. (2016) (with M. Maiuro) Forme dell'economia rurale. In L. Capogrossi Colognesi (ed.), L'Italia dei Flavi. Rome. 121-152.
  10. (2016) Finley and the Ancient Economy. In D. Jew, R. Osborne and M. Scott (eds.), M.I. Finley: An Ancient Historian and His Impact. Cambridge. 227-249.
  11. (2016) The economic impact of Flavian rule. In A. Zissos (eds.), Blackwell’s Companion to the Flavian Age of Imperial Rome. Oxford. 189-206.
  12. (2015) The nature of the villa economy. In P. Erdkamp, K. Verboven and A. Zuiderhoek (eds.), Ownership and Exploitation of Land and Natural Resources in the Roman World. Oxford. 173-186.
  13. (2014) (with G.R. Bellini, N. Leone, M. Millett and S.L. Trigona) Ceramiche comuni da Interamna Lirenas e dal suo territorio. Primi risultati dello studio crono-tipologico (campagne 2010-11). E. Cirelli, F. Diosono and H. Patterson (eds.), Le forme della crisi. Produzioni ceramiche e commerci nell'Italia centrale tra Romani e Longobardi. Bologna. 581-592.
  14. (2014) (with G.R. Bellini and M.J. Millett) Roman colonial landscapes: Interamna Lirenas and its territory through Antiquity. In J. Pelgrom and T. Stek (eds.), Roman Republican Colonisation: New Perspectives from Archaeology and Ancient History. Rome. 255-275.
  15. (2014) Survey archaeology in the Roman world (history, approach, methodology). In Encyclopaedia of Global Archaeology. Berlin.
  16. (2012) Why, what and how to compare: site trends and population dynamics in Roman Italy (200 BC - AD 100). In P. Attema and G. Schörner (eds.), Comparative Issues in the Archaeology of the Roman Rural Landscape: Site Classification between Survey, Excavation and Historical Categories. Portsmouth. 117-132.
  17. (2011) Investing in the countryside: villas and farms, landowners and tenants (200 BC to 100 AD). In FACTA – A Journal of Roman Material Culture Studies 5: 129-143.
  18. (2009) (with M. Pasquinucci) Researching ‘on the margins’: landscape archaeology in the Polcevera Valley. In I. Holm and K. Stene (eds.), Liminal Landscapes. Beyond the Concepts of 'Marginality' and 'Periphery'. Oslo. 183-201.
  19. (2009) La Val Polcevera dalla seconda Età del Ferro alla fine dell’Evo Antico. In Rivista di Studi Liguri 72/73: 5-34.
  20. (2007) Landscape and population of the Roman countryside (II c. BC – I c. AD). In A. Cimdina and J. Osmond (eds.), Power and Culture. Identity, Ideology and Representation. Pisa. 1-12.
  21. (2007) I «castellari» di Sestri Ponente e Monte Carlo. In R. De Marinis and G. Spadea (eds.), Ancora su i Liguri. Genoa. 79-81.
  22. (2006) (with M. Pasquinucci). Landscape Archaeology in Pisa and the ‘POPULUS’ Project: paying attention and being selective. In S. Bigliazzi and S. Wood (eds.), Collaboration in the Arts  from Middle Ages to the Present. London. 191-198.
  23. (2004) Concerning landscape. In Agri Centuriati 1: 31-41.
  24. (2004) Experienced landscapes through intentional sources. In B. Croxford et al. (eds.), TRAC 2003. Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference. Oxford. 111-122.

 

Other publications: 

 

Fieldwork reports

  1. (2020) (with G.R. Bellini, D. Goddard, D, Grünwald, N. Leone, M.J. Millett and W. Pantano) Interamna Lirenas (Research Report 2019). In Papers of the British School at Rome 88: 365-368.
  2. (2019) (with G.R. Bellini, D. Goddard, D, Grünwald, N. Leone and M.J. Millett) Interamna Lirenas (Research Report 2018). In Papers of the British School at Rome 87: 333-336.
  3. (2018) (with G.R. Bellini, N. Leone and M.J. Millett, L. Verdonck and F. Vermeulen). Interamna Lirenas (Research Report 2017). In Papers of the British School at Rome 86: 303-306.
  4. (2018) (with N. Leone, M.J. Millett, L. Verdonck and F. Vermeulen). Falerii Novi (Research Report 2017). In Papers of the British School at Rome 86: 302-303.
  5. (2017) (with G.R. Bellini, N. Leone, M.J. Millett, L. Verdonck and F. Vermeulen). Interamna Lirenas (Research Report 2016). In Papers of the British School at Rome 85: 321-324.
  6. (2017) (with N. Leone, M.J. Millett, L. Verdonck and F. Vermeulen). Falerii Novi (Research Report 2016). In Papers of the British School at Rome 85: 320-321.
  7. (2016) (with R. Ballantyne, G.R. Bellini, J. Hales, N. Leone, M.J. Millett, L. Verdonck and F. Vermeulen). Interamna Lirenas (Research Report 2015). In Papers of the British School at Rome 84: 322-325.
  8. (2016) (with G.R. Bellini, S. Hay, A. James, N. Leone and M.J. Millett) Interamna Lirenas e il suo territorio. Indagini archeologiche 2013. In G. Ghini and Z. Mari (eds.), Lazio e Sabina 11. Rome. 293-300.
  9. (2016) (with N. Leone, M.J. Millett, L. Verdonck and F. Vermeulen). Falerii Novi (Research Report 2015). In Papers of the British School at Rome 84: 321.
  10. (2015) (with R. Ballantyne, G.R. Bellini, N. Leone and M.J. Millett). Interamna Lirenas (Research Report 2014). In Papers of the British School at Rome 83: 299-302.
  11. (2014) (with G.R. Bellini, S. Hay, N. Leone and M.J. Millett). Interamna Lirenas (Research Report 2013). In Papers of the British School at Rome 82: 327-331.
  12. (2014) (with G.R. Bellini, S. Hay, N. Leone and M.J. Millett) Interamna Lirenas e il suo territorio. Indagini archeologiche non invasive 2012. In G. Ghini and Z. Mari (eds.), Lazio e Sabina 10. Rome. 195-204.
  13. (2013) (with G.R. Bellini, S. Hay, N. Leone and M.J. Millett) Interamna Lirenas (Research Report 2012). In Papers of the British School at Rome 81: 358-360.
  14. (2013) (with S. Hay, N. Leone and M.J. Millett) Interamna Lirenas e il suo territorio. Indagini archeologiche non invasive 2011. In G. Ghini and Z. Mari (eds.), Lazio e Sabina 9. Rome. 507-517.
  15. (2012) (with G.R. Bellini, S. Hay, N. Leone and M.J. Millett) Interamna Lirenas (Research Report 2011). In Papers of the British School at Rome 80: 358-360.
  16. (2012) (with S. Hay, N. Leone and M.J. Millett) Interamna Lirenas e il suo territorio. Indagini archeologiche non invasive 2010. In G. Ghini and Z. Mari (eds.), Lazio e Sabina 8. Rome. 295-301
  17. (2007) (with M. Pasquinucci, S. Menchelli, P. Sangriso, S. Genovesi and F. Pucci) Vada Volaterrana: scavi e ricerche 2006. In Quaderno del Laboratorio Universitario Volterrano 10: 131-140.
  18. (2006) (with M. Pasquinucci, S. Menchelli, N. Leone, G. Picchi and P. Sangriso) Vada Volaterrana: scavi e ricerche 2005. In Quaderno del Laboratorio Universitario Volterrano 9: 27-34.
  19. (2005) (with M. Pasquinucci, S. Menchelli, I. Monacci, G. Picchi and P. Sangriso) Vada Volaterrana: scavi e ricerche 2004. In Quaderno del Laboratorio Universitario Volterrano 8: 217-225.

Reviews

  1. (2013) Review of Peasants, Citizens and Soldiers by L. de Ligt, In Classical Review 63.2: 525-527.
  2. (2012) Review of The Italians on the Land: Changing Perspectives on Republican Italy then and now, edited by A. Keaveney and L. Earnshaw-Brown. In Journal of Roman Studies 102: 349.
  3. (2012) Review of Regional Pathways to Complexity. Settlement and Land-use Dynamics in Early Italy from the Bronze Age to the Republican Period, edited by P.A.J. Attema, G.J. Burger and P.M. Van Leusen. In European Journal of Archaeology 16.1: 200-204.
  4. (2012) Review of Settlement, Urbanization, and Population, edited by A. Bowman and A. Wilson. In Classical Review 63.1: 180-182.
  5. (2011) Review of Public Land in the Roman Republic: a Social and Economic History of Ager Publicus in Italy, 396-89 BC by S.T. Roselaar. In Journal of Roman Studies 101: 240-241.
  6. (2010) Review of Quantifying the Roman economy: methods and problems, edited by A. Bowman and A. Wilson. In Hermathena 189: 140-144.
  7. (2009) Cronaca del convegno ‘Tecnologia marittima nell’economia antica: navi e navigazione’ (Rome, 16-17 giugno 2009). In Bollettino di Studi Latini 39.2: 670-672.
  8. (2009) Review of Archaeology and Landscape in Central Italy, edited by G. Lock e A. Faustoferri. In The Holocene 19.6: 983.
  9. (2008) I sistemi monetari dei greci e dei romani: un dibattito in corso. In Rivista di Storia Economica 24.3: 387-395. [extended review of The Monetary Systems of the Greeks and the Romans, edited by W.V. Harris].

Popular articles

  1. (forthcoming) (with G.R. Bellini) Il teatro di Interamna Lirenas. In G.R. Bellini and G. Murro (eds.) Interamna Lirenas: Percorsi nel tempo. Materiali e storie della città romana. Fano. 47-49.
  2. (forthcoming) (with G.R. Bellini and M. Millett) La meridiana di M. Novius Tubula: un ritrovamento eccezionale dagli scavi della città antica. In G.R. Bellini and G. Murro (eds.) Interamna Lirenas: Percorsi nel tempo. Materiali e storie della città romana. Fano. 51-53.
  3. (forthcoming) (with G.R. Bellini and M. Millett) Prospezioni geofisiche tramite magnetometria sul sito di Interamna Lirenas. In G.R. Bellini and G. Murro (eds.) Interamna Lirenas: Percorsi nel tempo. Materiali e storie della città romana. Fano. 41-46.
  4. (forthcoming) (with G.R. Bellini and G. Murro) Interamna Lirenas: breve storia della città. In G.R. Bellini and G. Murro (eds.) Interamna Lirenas: Percorsi nel tempo. Materiali e storie della città romana. Fano.  9-13.
  5. (2018) Sundial of Marcus Novius Tubula. In Current World Archaeology 88 (April/May): 66.
  6. (2018) (with G.R. Bellini and M. Millett). Interamna Lirenas: una ricerca in corso. In Studi Cassinati 17.4: 243-250.
  7. (2018) (with G.R. Bellini, M. Millett, L. Verdonck and F. Vermeulen). Hidden histories of Roman towns. In Current World Archaeology 90 (August/September): 24-29.
  8. (2018) (with G.R. Bellini, M. Millett, L. Verdonck and F. Vermeulen). Vivere tra i fiumi. In Archeo 34.405 (November): 42-51.

Teaching and Supervisions

Teaching: 

As part of my undergraduate teaching I deliver lectures and modules about archaeological methods and techniques, the integration of material and textual evidence, the archaeology of Rome, Italy and the Mediterranean (with specific emphasis on urbanism and architecture, rural landscapes, the economy and material culture). I routinely supervise on topics in Roman art and archaeology (and sometimes Roman history), and I have supervised dissertations on Roman topics including (but not limited to) the phenomenology of the Athenian acropolis in the Roman period, votive anatomical terracottas in Hellenistic Italy, technical treatises on poliorcetics and the fortresses in Greek Sicily, the technology and development of roofed theatres in the Roman world, the archaeology of Roman time-keeping, the social role of marbles in elite benefactions, and divergent urban landscapes in Roman Judaea.

Research supervision: 

At postgraduate level I have been supervising students working on different aspects of Roman archaeology and history, including (but not limited to) Roman Mediterranean ports at the intersection of political and technological power dynamics, the nature of immigrant communities in Rome, the spread of religious cults across the Roman Mediterranean, the transformations of pre-Roman landscapes in Etruria and Samnium, settlement patterns and tenure arrangements in the countryside of Roman Italy, spatial analysis of the road-system of Roman Britain, and the transformations of Roman foodways as indicated by distribution and development of table- and cooking-ware pottery in Italy.

A significant part of my teaching and supervision is delivered through fieldwork activities taking place over the summer, which are open to the participation of both undergraduate and postgraduate students of the Faculty of Classics.

Associate Professor in Classics (Classical Art & Archaeology)
Fellow and Director of Studies in Classics at Gonville & Caius College
Dr Alessandro  Launaro

Contact Details

Faculty of Classics
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge
CB3 9DA
al506@cam.ac.uk
01223 761004 (Faculty) / 764573 (College)
Not available for consultancy

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