Simon Malmberg's picture
  • E-mailSimon.Malmberg@uib.no
  • Phone+47 55 58 22 00
  • Visitor Address
    Øysteinsgt 1
  • Postal Address
    Postboks 7805
    5020 Bergen

Simon Malmberg studies the impact of urban movement in major cities of the Roman Empire. He is also involved in research on internet-supported learning in archaeology.

Simon currently leads the project The Tiber in Rome: Shaping Urban Movement and Development (Meltzer Foundation).

He is also participating in an international teaching collaboration together with the universities at Kiel, Paris 1, Aarhus and Pisa to develop internet-supported teaching involving multiple universities, and in a research collaboration with the universities at Durham and Sydney to investigate urban density in historical megacities. 

Two projects that were recently concluded and in the process of publication are Ancient Cities: Creating a Digital Learning Environment on Cultural Heritage (ERASMUS+), and Globalization, Urbanization and Urban Religion in the Eastern Mediterranean (NOS-HS Workshop Grant). For details, se Projects tab. 

Simon's previous research has been focused on the impact of movement on the Subura district in central Rome, city gate areas in Rome’s eastern periphery, and harbour quarters in southern Rome in the time period 1-500 CE. Malmberg has also studied how capital cities may express political status through architecture and ritual, with a focus on Rome, Constantinople and Ravenna in the period 300-800 CE. Furthermore, he has studied the rituals surrounding banquets in the imperial palaces at Rome and Constantinople. 

Fields of Research

Roman archaeology

Urban processes in Rome, Ostia, Ravenna and Constantinople, especially harbour quarters

Traffic and urban movement

Internet-supported learning

Social identity

Imperial ceremony, political legitimacy, functions of capital cities

Study of foodways

AHKR210: Ancient Rome

AHKR215: Ancient Rome

ARK100: Archaeology - an Introduction

ARK110: Peope, Evolution and Society: From the First Humans to the End of the Bronze Age c. 500 BC

ARK120: The Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and the Nordic Region from c. 500 BC to AD 1500

ARK123: Life in Ancient Rome: An Introduction to Roman Archaeology

ARK210: Theory and Method

ARK250: Bachelor Thesis in Archaeology

ARK305: Archaeological Method

ARK308: Archaeology: Landscape, Heritage and Management

ARK350: Archaeology Master Thesis

Selected Publications

Monographs & Edited Books

2023: City, Hinterland and Environment: Urban Resilience during the First Millennium Transition (Norwegian Institute in Rome), co-edited with Eivind Seland and Kristin Aavitsland

2015: The Moving City: Processions, Passages and Promenades in Ancient Rome (Bloomsbury Academic), co-edited with Ida Östenberg and Jonas Bjørnebye

2003: Dazzling Dining: Banquets as an Expression of Imperial Legitimacy (Uppsala University), PhD thesis. Examiner: Professor Dame Averil Cameron.

Scholarly Articles & Book Chapters

2023: A Millennium of Resilience, Vulnerability and Sustainability at Rome, c. 200 BCE-800 CE, in S. Malmberg, E. Seland & K. Aavitsland (eds.), City, Hinterland and Environment: Urban Resilience during the First Millennium Transition (Norwegian Institute in Rome) In press.

2023: Neighbourhoods by the Tiber: Life at Two Harbours in Rome, in A. Haug, A. Hielscher and A.-L. Krüger (eds.) Neighbourhoods and City Quarters in Antiquity. Design and Experience (De Gruyter), pp. 83-98. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783111248097-006

2022: Ancient Cities: Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age, Journal of Archaeology and Education 6:3, article 1 (38 pp.) Ancient Cities: Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age (umaine.edu), co-written with S. Feuser, M. Blømer, F. Brouns, A. Duplouy, S. Merten, C. Videbech, A. Zambon & M. Zarmakoupi.

2021: Ancient Cities: Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age, in S. Feuser, S. Merten & K. Wesselmann (eds.) Teaching Classics in the Digital Age (Universitætsverlag Kiel), pp. 107-116. Ancient Cities (uni-kiel.de), co-written with S. Feuser, M. Blømer, F. Brouns, A. Duplouy, S. Merten, C. Videbech & M. Zarmakoupi.

2021: Der MOOC 'Discovering Greek & Roman Cities': Lebenslanges Lernen im digitalen Zeitalter, in S. Barsch (ed.) Geschichtsdidaktische Perspektive auf die 'Vormoderne'. Fachwissenschaft und Fachdidaktik im Dialog (Universitætsverlag Kiel), pp. 35-49. Der MOOC 'Discovering Greek & Roman Cities' (uni-kiel.de), co-written with S. Feuser, M. Blømer, F. Brouns, A. Duplouy, S. Merten, C. Videbech & M. Zarmakoupi.

2021: Understanding Rome as a Port City, in F. Vermeulen and A. Zuiderhoek (eds.) Space, Movement and the Economy in Roman Cities in Italy and Beyond (Routledge), pp. 315-372.

2016: Ravenna: Naval Base, Commercial Hub, Capital City, in K. Höghammar, B. Alroth & A. Lindhagen (eds.), Ancient Ports: The Geography of Connections (Uppsala University Press), pp. 323-346.

2015: ’Ships Are Seen Gliding Swiftly along the Sacred Tiber’: The River as an Artery of Urban Movement and Development, in I. Östenberg, S. Malmberg and J. Bjørnebye (eds.), The Moving City: Processions, Passages and Promenades in Ancient Rome (Bloomsbury Academic), pp. 187-201, 307-312.

2015: Introduction, in I. Östenberg, S. Malmberg and J. Bjørnebye (eds.), The Moving City: Processions, Passages and Promenades in Ancient Rome (Bloomsbury Academic), pp. 1-9, co-written with I. Östenberg and J. Bjørnebye. 

2014: Triumphal Arches and Gates of Piety at Constantinople, Ravenna and Rome, in S. Birk, T. Myrup Kristensen & B. Poulsen (eds.), Using Images in Late Antiquity (Oxbow Books), pp. 150-189. 

2014: The Swedish Institute of Classical Studies at Rome, in C. Smith (ed.), Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology (Springer), pp. 7181-7183, co-written with B.S. Frizell.

2013: The New Palace of Mehmed Fatih and its Byzantine Legacy, in A. Ödekan, N. Necipoglu & E. Akyürek (eds.), The Byzantine Court: Source of Power and Culture (Koç University Press), pp. 49-55.

2013: Byen mellem havnene: skibsfart og dagligt brød i senantikkens Konstantinopel [The city between the harbours: shipping and daily bread in late antique Constantinople], Sfinx 2013:2, pp. 57-61.

2013: Vad är klassisk arkeologi? [What is classical archaeology?], Riss: et arkeologisk tidsskrift 2013:1, pp. 16-23.

2013: Banquets, Byzantine, in R. Bagnall, K. Brodersen, C.B. Champion, A. Erskine & S.R. Huebner (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Ancient History (Wiley-Blackwell), pp. 1035-1036.

2012: Romerskt bordsskick [Roman table manners], Klassisk Forum 2012:2, pp. 53-59.

2011: Movement and Urban Development at Two City Gates in Rome: the Porta Esquilina and Porta Tiburtina, in R. Laurence & D. Newsome (eds.), Rome, Ostia and Pompeii: Movement and Space (Oxford University Press), pp. 361-385, co-written with H. Bjur. 

2010: Forum Romanum: marknadsplats eller monument? [Forum Romanum: market place or monument?], Tidningen Stad 2 (2010). pp. 42-43.

2010: Mehmet Fatihs bysantinska palats [The Byzantine Palace of Mehmet Fatih], Dragomanen 14, pp. 74-80.

2009: Navigating the Urban Via Tiburtina, in H. Bjur & B. Santillo Frizell (eds.), Via Tiburtina: Space, Movement and Artefacts in the Urban Landscape (Swedish Institute in Rome), pp. 61-78. 

2009: The Suburb as Centre, in H. Bjur & B. Santillo Frizell (eds.), Via Tiburtina: Space, Movement and Artefacts in the Urban Landscape (Swedish Institute in Rome), pp. 109-128, co-written with H. Bjur. 

2009: Finding Your Way in the Subura, in M. Driessen et al. (eds.), TRAC 2008. Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference (Oxbow Books), pp. 39-51. 

2007: Dazzling Dining, in L. Brubaker & K. Linardou (eds.), Eat, Drink and Be Merry (Luke 12:19) – Food and Wine in Byzantium. Papers of the 37th Annual Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies in Honour of Professor A.A.M. Bryer (Ashgate), pp. 75-91. 

2005: Visualising Hierarchy at Imperial Banquets, in W. Mayer & S. Trzcionka (eds.), Feast, Fast or Famine: Food and Drink in Byzantium [Byzantina Australiensia 15] (Australian Association for Byzantine Studies), pp. 11-24. 

2005: Rituals on the road: two highways at Rome and Ravenna AD 400-750, in H. Bjur & B. Santillo Frizell (eds.), Via Tiburtina. Space, movement and artefacts in the urban landscape [The Swedish Institute in Rome. Projects and Seminars, 4:1] (The Swedish Institute in Rome), pp. 47-50.


2021: Review of N. Westbrook, The Great Palace in Constantinople: an Architectural Interpretation, in Antiquité Tardive 29, pp. 293-295.

2015: Review of M. David, Eternal Ravenna: from the Etruscans to the Venetians, in The Classical Review 65:1, pp. 238-240. 

2014: Review of S. Alcock, J. Bodel, R. Talbert (eds.), Highways, byways, and road systems in the pre-modern world, in The Classical Review 64:1, pp. 262-264.

2011: Review of L. Revell, Roman Imperialism and Local Identities, in European Journal of Archaeology 14:1-2, pp. 334-336. 

2009: Review of P. von Rummel, Habitus barbarus: Kleidung und Repräsentation spätantiker Eliten im 4. und 5. Jahrhundert, in Opuscula 2, pp. 226-227. 



Ancient Cities: Creating a Digital Learning Environment on Cultural Heritage

The project aims to develop an innovative, pan-European digital learning module on the subject of Greek and Roman cities for use at universities, and to create a freely available online course (a so-called MOOC) entitled Discovering Greek & Roman Cities for a broad audience. Leading scientists from the field of urban archaeology work closely together with specialists in digital learning for this project, constantly guided by two questions: How can digital teaching be implemented in the historical humanities and how can digitalisation appeal to different target groups?

The project involves the universities of Bergen, Aarhus, Athens, Kiel, Paris, Pennsylvania, and the Open University of the Netherlands and is funded as an ERASMUS+ Strategic Partnership. 

For more information, see the project webpage, facebook page and twitter page


Globalization, Urbanization and Urban Religion in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Roman and Early Islamic periods

The project, funded by the The Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences, consists of three workshops to examine various outcomes of globalization, urbanization and urban religions in the eastern Mediterranean in the period 1-800 CE. The workshops brings together classicists, classical archaeologists, biblical scholars, theologians,historians and scholars of Islam who integrate the most recent archaeological material into the study of relevant literary sources. The network will create possibilities for multidisciplinary cooperation and encourage methodological innovation in the study of the ancient world.

The first workshop, Global and Local Cultures in the Roman East: From Domination to Interaction, was held at the Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki, in November 2018, organized by Dr. Raimo Hakola. 

The second workshop, Urban Religion and Urban Landscapes in the First Millennium, was held at the Centre for Urban Network Evolutions at Aarhus University, in May 2019, organized by Prof. Rubina Raja.

The third workshop, City, Hinterland, and Environment: Urban Resilience in the Late Roman and Early Islamic Period, will be held at the Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion, University of Bergen, on September 23-25, 2019, organized by Prof. Eivind Seland and Prof. Simon Malmberg. The workshop papers will be published as a thematic issue of the journal Acta ad archaeologiam et artium historiam pertinentia by the Norwegian Institute in Rome in 2021/2022. 


The Tiber River in Rome: Shaping Urban Movement and Development 

The project, funded by the Meltzer Foundation, studies the impact of the river Tiber on Rome. The river was essential in supporting the massive urban population of Rome from the late Republic to late antiquity. The strain of supplying up to a million inhabitants in a pre-industrial society necessitated harbour facilities of an unprecedented scale. The harbours transformed the banks of the Tiber not just into the largest port of the Mediterranean area, but also into the largest commercial and industrial zone of the ancient world. The Tiber shaped the character of the adjacent city districts of Campus Martius, Transtiberim and Testaccio. Thus, the river was more than infrastructure - it was one of the essential geographic features that shaped the urban form of Rome.