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Dr Tim Penn

Dr Tim Penn
  • Lecturer in Roman Culture
  • Undergraduate Dissertations co-ordinator
  • Postgraduate Taught co-ordinator

Building location

Edith Morley

Areas of interest

I am a Roman and late antique archaeologist. My research is driven by a desire to understand the everyday lives of people across the Roman Empire from the Late Republic to Late Antiquity using all available sources: material culture, iconography, and texts. My research considers/explores Roman culture on multiple levels, from largescale landscape analysis through to site-level studies and the interrogation of individual objects, with the aim of understanding Roman daily life in its social context. My research has three main strands.

Landscape and settlement studies: My doctoral research investigated the role of burials in the rural and urban landscapes of Italy in the creation and curation of social memory by local communities, I found that that patterns of burial in Italy are far more varied than previously thought and must be understood in their local context. I am now preparing this work for publication as a monograph and accompanying articles. Alongside this, I have worked on the settlement archaeology of Cyrenaica (Eastern Libya).

Roman board games: While landscape archaeology provides a big picture perspective on people’s interactions with their surroundings, my other main research topic provides a more focused, site-level analysis of culture: Roman board games. This topic provides an exceptional window into everyday life and yet it is still not fully explored. My work analyses board games in their social context by combining textual and material evidence. I

Artefact studies: I am deeply curious about how individual objects can inform us about daily culture and life. I have published on finds from Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Azerbaijan, and Iran, and I am a senior contributor responsible for finds publication on projects in Turkey (Aphrodisias), Jordan (Jerash, Petra), and Egypt (Alexandria).

Postgraduate supervision

I am especially interested in supervising doctoral projects on the archaeology of the Roman and late antique periods, as well as how we communicate about these topics to wider society.


Undergraduate: ‘Roman History: from Republic to Empire’, ‘Entertainment and leisure in Roman society’ and ‘Latin 1’

Postgraduate: ‘Entertainment and leisure in Roman society’ MA Special Option

Research projects

I am Deputy Director of the Manar al-Athar Digital Archive, which provides high resolution, searchable images for teaching, research, and publication. These images of archaeological sites, buildings, and art, cover the areas of the former Roman empire which later came under Islamic rule, such as Syro-Palestine/the Levant, Egypt and North Africa, as well as some bordering regions, such as Georgia and Armenia. The chronological range is from Alexander the Great (i.e., from about 300 BC) through the Islamic period. It is the first website of its kind providing such material labelled jointly in both Arabic and English.


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