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Maureen Carroll
Chair in Roman Archaeology

Profile

Biography

Maureen trained as a Classical Archaeologist in North America and Europe. She obtained a BA Honours in Classical Studies at Brock University (Canada), an MA in Classical Archaeology at Indiana University (U.S.A.), and a PhD in Classical Archaeology at Indiana University and the Freie Universität in Berlin. After over a decade of working for the state archaeological services in Germany and teaching at the University of Cologne, Maureen joined the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield where, in 2013, she was promoted to Professor of Roman Archaeology.  She joined the Department of Archaeology at York as Chair in Roman Archaeology in September 2020.

In 2019, the Archaeological Institute of America appointed Maureen as the distinguished Charles Eliot Norton Memorial Lecturer, inviting her to conduct a lecture tour of seven universities in Canada. She has been visiting professor at the Universität Basel and the Université de Fribourg in Switzerland, the Humboldt Universität in Berlin, and at McMaster University and the University of Calgary in Canada.

Maureen is a Roman archaeologist whose key research interests are Roman burial practices, funerary commemoration, and Roman childhood and family studies. She headed up the British team participating in a large EU-funded multi-national project (DressID) on Roman textiles and clothing, her focus being on dress and identity in funerary portraits on the Rhine and Danube frontiers. A further area of interest is the topic of Roman garden archaeology, on which she has published extensively. More recently, Maureen has studied the role of women in votive religion in early Roman Italy.

She has directed excavations in Germany, Italy, Tunisia, and Britain. Her current fieldwork project, funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust, the Roman Society, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and the Rust Family Foundation, is the exploration of a Roman rural estate in imperial possession from the first to the third century A.D. at Vagnari in Puglia (Italy).

Departmental roles

Director of Studies, MA in Roman Archaeology (2020-)

Research

Overview

Maureen recently completed a book on Roman childhood entitled Infancy and Earliest Childhood in the Roman World. ‘A Fragment of Time’ (Oxford University Press, 2018). She also contributed to and edited a volume (with Emma-Jayne Graham, Open University) on Infant Health and Death in Roman Italy (2014).  Maureen’s work integrates archaeological and skeletal evidence, material culture, and iconography with social and cultural history, dispelling the long-held notion that very young children in the Roman world were marginal beings without any social significance whose lives were treated with indifference in an age of high infant mortality.

Maureen’s research on Roman infancy was supported by the Balsdon Fellowship at the British School at Rome in 2008 and a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2012/2013). In 2016 she was the Hugh Last Fellow at the BSR with a project on the role of Roman religion in ideas about female fertility, pregnancy, and childbirth. This research, published in the Papers of the British School at Rome in 2019, explored sanctuary sites in early Roman Italy at which worshippers made thank offerings in the form of terracotta reproductive organs and swaddled infants, as well as stone statues of mothers and children. The work has illuminated not only the role of supplication and votive dedications in promoting maternal health and family continuity, but also the polyvalent nature of Roman gods in mediating in human affairs.

Maureen’s most recent fieldwork project focused on the Roman imperial estate at Vagnari in Puglia in rural south-east Italy. Knowledge of Roman imperial properties in Italy chiefly has been derived from written evidence, so the excavations at Vagnari offer a fresh archaeological perspective on profound changes in social and political circumstances, population mobility, and economic regimes brought about by the imperial acquisition of land and labour. A comprehensive volume on the excavation, the structures, the finds, and the scientific analysis of artefacts, is in press (2021).

Projects

The Roman Imperial Estate at Vagnari (Puglia)

This project focuses on the archaeological exploration of the central village of an agricultural estate that was situated on ancient transhumance routes in southern Italy. The estate belonged to the Roman emperor from the early first century A.D. The project investigates the economy, the living conditions, and the role of slave labour in the village and the surrounding region, and it studies the pre-Roman settlement on which the Roman imperial village was founded.

British Academy/Leverhulme Trust support enabled a project in conjunction with this fieldwork entitled “Apulian Wine and Adriatic Trade in the early Roman Empire: A study of dolia as a physical medium for the production and long-range transport of Eastern Italian vintages”, using archaeological and scientific methods to explore the historical and economic context of Roman wine production in eastern Italy and the role of bulk trade in this commodity in connecting communities across the Adriatic. Collaborators from the University of Palermo have conducted fabric analyses of the Vagnari dolia as part of this project, and the results appeared in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports in 2021.

The British Academy also supported a project entitled “Connectivity, Mobility, and the Mobilisation of Resources at the Roman Imperial Estate at Vagnari, Apulia” which explores the mobilisation of natural and man-made resources at Vagnari. Further funding for this project was secured from the Rust Family Foundation and the Roman Society. Collaborators are Angela Trentacoste (University of Oxford), Petrus Le Roux (University of Cape Town), David Griffiths (University of Sheffield), Giuseppe Montana (University of Palermo), and Luciana Randazzo (University of Calabria). A comprehensive volume on the excavation, the structures, the finds, and the scientific analysis of artefacts, is in press (2021).

A further current project stemming from fieldwork at Vagnari is the project “Deadly Lead? An Interdisciplinary Study of Lead Production, Lead Exposure, and Health on an Imperial Roman Estate in Italy”. This project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), has Tracy Prowse (McMaster University, Canada) as its Principal Investigator and Maureen as its Co-Principal Investigator. Jane Evans, British Geological Survey, is a research collaborator. This is the first study of its kind that investigates the archaeological evidence for Roman lead production and use, along with the physical remains of the people who were exposed to this material on a regular basis. The analysis of lead ore sourcing appeared in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports in 2021.

An Etruscan Lady in York

Maureen’s most recent project is Towards Revitalising Antiquarian Collections in the Yorkshire Museum:  An Etruscan Lady in York. This project, in collaboration with the Yorkshire Museum, and funded by the York Impact Accelerator Fund, is investigating an Etruscan funerary monument of the 3rd or 2nd century B.C. that was purchased in Rome and entered the Museum collections as a donation in the 19th century. The sculpture is that of a reclining woman, and it forms the lid of a no longer extant stone ash chest that contained the cremated remains of this individual. In addition to cleaning the sculpture, surface samples are being analysed in the Department of Archaeology at York to detect traces of the original pigments used to paint the sculpture, and a 3-D model will be produced. The project also aims to locate stylistic and iconographic comparanda for the York piece in collections in relevant museums in Italy and to identify the Etruscan town in which the sculpture was made. The monument’s role in expressing status, age, and gender in its original social and funerary context will be communicated to scholars, students, and visitors to the Yorkshire Museum. The project supports the Museum’s interest in developing displays based on the early history of its collections, showcasing the diverse routes through which objects, such as the Etruscan lady, have travelled to York.

Supervision

Melissa Kays, The Evolution of Access to Social Mobility for Women in the Public Sphere during the Roman Empire

Kelsey MaddenFrom Conquest to Consumption: Evidence for the sexualisation and subsequent trafficking of 'barbarian' women and children in the iconography of Roman conquest (1st c. B.C. - 2nd c. A.D.), jointly with Dr Jane Rempel, University of Sheffield

Christos GiamakisWarrior burials in Archaic Macedonia: Identity, Power and Ideology, WRoCAH funded, jointly with Dr Jane Rempel, University of Sheffield

Contact details

Professor Maureen Carroll
Chair in Roman Archaeology
Department of Archaeology,
University of York,
King's Manor,
Exhibition Square,
York
YO1 7EP

External activities

Memberships

Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA)

Member of the Classical Association

Member of the Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica

Member of the British School at Rome

 

Selected External Appointments

Charles Eliot Norton Memorial Lecturer, Archaeological Institute of America (2019)

E. Togo Salmon Visiting Professor, Department of Classics, McMaster University, Canada (2009)

External Examiner of UG and MA programmes, Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton (2013-2016); Department of Classical and Archaeological Studies, University of Kent at Canterbury (2008-2012); Department of Archaeology, University of Nottingham (2003-2006)

External Examiner for MA dissertations, Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest (2009-2012)

PhD External Examiner at the Universities of Reading, Nottingham, and Exeter; at Macquarie University, Sydney; the University of Western Australia, Perth; the Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology, Tarragona, Spain; and at Lund University, Sweden

Invited talks and conferences

Recent conference organisation

Organiser of sessions at the Roman Archaeology Conference at meetings in Split (2020), Edinburgh (2018), Rome (2016), and Frankfurt (2014)

Organiser of the international conference “Maternitas in Classical Archaeology”, the British School at Rome (2018)

Organiser of a workshop “Vagnari Roman Imperial Estate: The Settlement and the Material Culture”, University of Sheffield (2018)

Organiser (with Dr Rebecca Gowland) of a Roman Society Workshop “Growing up in the Roman Empire: A multidisciplinary approach to Roman childhood”, University of Durham (2017)

Recent invited talks

March 2021, British School at Rome: Invisible Foreigners in Imperial Rome? Masking Identities through Cultural Dress Behaviour in Funerary Commemoration

January 2020, University of Oxford: The Greening of Roman Architecture

October 2019, University of Toronto: Infancy and Earliest Childhood in the Roman World

November 2019, University of Ottawa: Fertility Cults, Votive Offerings, and Women’s Roles in Early Roman Religion

April 2019, La Trobe University: The Emperor’s New Estate: Excavations at the Roman Imperial Property at Vagnari, Italy

March 2019, University of Graz: Mater Matuta and Her ‘Sisters’: Re-Examining Mother Deities and the Votive Phenomenon

May 2018, British School at Rome: Fertility Cults and Women as Cult Participants in Early Roman Italy; Maternitas in Classical Antiquity, Conference

April 2018, University of Edinburgh: The Making of an Imperial Property at Vagnari, Apulia; New Archaeological Perspectives on Imperial Properties in Roman Italy, Session at the Roman Archaeology Conference

March 2017, University of Manchester: Cultural and Ethnic Identities through Dress Behaviour in Roman Germany