skip to primary navigationskip to content

Roman Colonial Landscapes (archived)

Welcome to the Roman Colonial Landscapes project!

The project ran in 2010-12 and is now FINISHED. These pages have now been archived (as such thay have not been updated since 2012) and they provide general information about the project as well as our preliminary annual reports.

If you are interested in the current archaeological fieldwork project,
please click HERE.


Surveyors 2010



In 2010 the Faculty of Classics launched a three-year fieldwork project to provide an integrated understanding of the long-term impact of Roman colonisation on the Italian landscape, with specific emphasis on the dynamic interrelationship between town and country. Our case study is provided by Interamna Lirenas, a Latin colony founded in 312 BC in the Liri Valley (ca 60 km South of Rome), an area of fundamental importance for the understanding of colonisation in the Middle Republic. Interamna was created as a strategic stronghold for Roman expansion towards Campania and the rest of Southern Italy. Its territory underwent two separate phases of colonisation in the 4th and 1st centuries BC (whose traces have previously been mapped by aerial archaeology), whilst the town itself survived as a major centre down to the Medieval period.


Research background

Traditional interpretations of Roman colonisation (largely unchallenged since the 1960s) have recently come under renewed scrutiny, especially in the light of archaeological evidence. The idea that colonies were standardised is no longer tenable, and they are now to be understood in the context of more varied Roman responses to differing local circumstances.

Similarly, the nature and information value of archaeological survey data has also been increasingly questioned. Ceramic material from surface survey is not longer treated merely as dating evidence, but has potential as a proxy for understanding productive activities, distribution patterns and consumption attitudes throughout the landscape, and thus contributing to the understanding of the dynamic relationship between town and country.

Building on the previous survey (1978-82) and our own pilot study (5-24 September 2010), the project will (a) generate a detailed map of the town integrating geophysical and topographical survey with selective surface collection, and (b) undertake an intensive survey of a sample (ca 500 ha) of its territory. Both tasks involve a thorough analysis of finds, with special emphasis on production, distribution and consumption of local ‘coarseware’ pottery.



The project is co-directed by Alessandro Launaro and Martin Millett and is being undertaken in collaboration with the British School at Rome. Specialist supervision over geophysical survey and finds-processing is provided by Sophie Hay (Archaeological Prospection Service of Southampton – University of Southampton and British School at Rome) and Ninetta Leone respectively. Every year a number of both undergraduate and postgraduate students from the University of Cambridge take part in the actual fieldwork as part of their training. Prof Simon Keay (University of Southampton and British School at Rome) acts as an academic advisor.


Preliminary fieldwork reports

Preliminary fieldwork reports are made available (below) following formal presentation of results at the Lazio e Sabina conference series, held annually by the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Lazio (usually in Spring).

  • 2010 (5-25 September)
  • 2011 (4-25 September and 22-31 October)
  • 2012 (4-21 July and 18-31 October)



The project is run in collaboration with the British School at Rome and the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Lazio (Giovanna Rita Bellini). It benefits from the generous support of the British Academy, the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research (University of Cambridge) and the Comune di Pignataro Interamna.

RSS Feed Latest news

Senior Research Fellowship, All Souls College, Oxford

Feb 28, 2018

The Faculty congratulates Dr Lucia Prauscello, Reader in Greek Literature and Language, on her appointment to a Senior Research Fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford.

Fixed-Term University Lectureship in Classics (Classical Linguistics and Comparative Philology)

Feb 09, 2018

Details of how to apply for this fixed-term post are available online. Closing date 7 March 2018.

Julius Caesar Revealed - BBC one

Feb 09, 2018

Mary Beard looks into some of the big questions surrounding one of the most prominent rulers in history.

Dr Yannis Galanakis elected to The Archaeological Society at Athens

Feb 08, 2018

Dr Galanakis has been elected to a regular membership of The Archaeological Society at Athens, the oldest archaeological organisation in Greece established in 1837.

View all news