Theme description ARK212

The archaeology of urban built environment in the Roman world

"The ancient Roman city  of Ostia"
"The ancient Roman city of Ostia".
Anna Danilova, AHKR


ARK212 is not offered in Spring 2022


Course description

Ancient cities and their built environment have always been among the key features used by archaeologists to study past cultures. The Romans took urbanism to a level previously unseen in human history. As their empire expanded, Roman architectural forms, and ideas about urban planning, revolutionized the ancient world.  

Urban archaeology has become one of the most dynamic fields within studies of the human past and has seen numerous advances in recent years, taking advantage of modern scientific methods and a theoretical framework that provides interdisciplinary links to, for example, sociology, economy, and urban planning. 

In this course, an international team of experts will provide an introduction to Roman urbanism, with examples drawn from Italy, Romania and the Middle East, and make students familiar with the latest theoretical and methodological approaches in the field of Roman urban archaeology. 

The course will be offered fully online, and will be taught in English. It consists of six lectures and a concluding seminar, where the following themes will be explored: 

  • How do Roman cities fit within global urban perspectives? 
  • How has the field of Roman urban archaeology evolved? 
  • How did people move in the urban environment? What guided them through the maze of streets of a densely populated city?
  • What do we find when we take a look inside a neighbourhood in a busy Roman port city?
  • What do archaeologists find when they start excavating a Roman town and what challenges do they face while doing it?
  • What role did religion play in the urban landscape of the Roman Middle East?