The Ancient City

Research into the ancient city is a long-standing and multifaceted area of expertise in our department. We have special interests in urban cultures and the archaeology of cities from Egypt to Roman Britain across several millennia.

We work on the topography, archaeology, architecture and cultures of cities such as Sparta, Athens and other Greek city states, Rome, Constantinople, the cities of ancient Egypt, the towns of Britannia and the urban centres of North Africa. We are also interested in the interplay between urban centres and their rural hinterland, whether in Egypt, Greece, Italy or Britain.


  • Andrew Bayliss is an expert on ancient Sparta and is interested in the rural hinterland of Greek poleis.
  • Henriette van der Blom works on the political culture of urban Rome and its spatial setting.
  • Leslie Brubaker researches the power of processions through urban centres.
  • Hannah Cornwell is a specialist on the topography and space of the City of Rome in the interplay with politics, diplomacy and discourses of power.
  • Theofili Kampianaki has published on the city of Constantinople and its peripheries.
  • Ailsa Hunt is a specialist in the religious landscapes of Roman towns and cities.
  • Maeve McHugh focuses on the rural contexts of ancient Greece and is particularly interested in the interplay between urban centres and their rural hinterland.
  • Will Mack works on guest-friendship and citizenship across the Greek city states.
  • Leire Olabarria excavates the Middle Egyptian site of Dayr el-Barsha to better understand the role of the cemetery within its urban setting.
  • Dan Reynolds is working on peasant communities in Byzantine-period provincial contexts, especially in the Levant and Southern Italy.
  • Gareth Sears specialises in the archaeology, city life and religious change in Roman cities, especially in North Africa of the late antiquity.
  • Diana Spencer is an expert of the ways in which the Romans conceptualised and experienced the urban space.
  • Ken Wardle’s research focuses on the Prehistoric Greek cities and settlements of Mycenae, Knossos, Assiros and Servia and Thermon.
  • Roger White is a specialist in the archaeology and heritage of cities, towns and their surrounding areas in Roman Britain.
  • Honorary Professor Larmour has worked on Rome as a site of memory with Diana Spencer and they are working on a study of Ovidian topography.

Major publications


Find out more



Crossroads of Empires
The problem with the Spartans - Andrew Bayliss