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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).
Director of Studies, MA in Roman Archaeology (2020-)
Maureen has 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 recipient of the Hugh Last Fellowship at the BSR with a project on the role of Roman religion in ideas about female fertility, pregnancy, and childbirth. This research, the results of which were 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 current fieldwork project focuses 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. Maureen is currently writing up the excavations from 2012-2018 as an edited monograph.
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 and Bradford University have conducted fabric and residue analyses of the Vagnari dolia as part of this project, and publication is in progress. The same funding body also is supporting 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. The lab results of the analysis of animal bones, sheep teeth, ceramics, and imported marble revetment are forthcoming. Collaborators are Angela Trentacoste (University of Oxford), Petrus Le Roux (University of Cape Town), David Griffiths (University of Sheffield), and Giuseppe Montana (University of Palermo).
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. 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. Research collaborators are Jane Evans, British Geological Survey, and Mike Inskip, McMaster University.
David Inglis, White Peak, Dark Landscape: What impact did Roman lead production have on the formation of the militarised and rural landscapes of the Derbyshire Peak District?, WRoCAH funded, jointly with Dr Robert Johnston, University of Sheffield
Christos Giamakis, Warrior burials’ in Archaic Macedonia: Identity, Power and Ideology, WRoCAH funded, jointly with Dr Jane Rempel, University of Sheffield
Kelsey Madden, From 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 and Prof Julia Hillner, University of Sheffield
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
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)
External Examiner of UG programmes, Department of Classical and Archaeological Studies, University of Kent at Canterbury (2008-2012)
External Examiner for MA dissertations, Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest (2009-2012)
External Examiner of UG programmes, Department of Archaeology, University of Nottingham (2003-2006)
PhD External Examiner at the Universities of Reading, Nottingham, and Exeter; and at Macquarie University, Sydney; the University of Western Australia, Perth; the Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology in Tarragona, Spain; and Lund University, Sweden
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)
March 2019, Protective Mothers, Fertile Women? The Polyvalence of Mother Goddesses, conference, University of Graz: Mater Matuta and Her ‘Sisters’: Re-Examining Mother Deities and the Votive Phenomenon
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
November 2019, University of Montreal: Reconstructing the Ancient Economy at the Roman Imperial Estate at Vagnari (Italy)
May 2018, Maternitas in Classical Antiquity, Conference, British School at Rome: Fertility Cults and Women as Cult Participants in Early Roman Italy
April 2018, New Archaeological Perspectives on Imperial Properties in Roman Italy, Session in the Roman Archaeology Conference, University of Edinburgh: The Making of an Imperial Property at Vagnari, Apulia
November 2017, Department of Archaeology, University of Exeter: Fertile Women, Healthy Babies: Early Roman Religious Dedications in Capua, Italy
April 2017, From Invisible to Visible: New Data and Methods for the Archaeology of Infant and Child Burials in Pre-Roman Italy, Conference, Trinity College Dublin: Looking backwards, looking ahead: Infant burials in context in Roman Italy
March 2017, University of Manchester: Cultural and Ethnic Identities through Dress Behaviour in Roman Germany
September 2016, Reflections: Harbour City Deathscapes in Roman Italy, Conference, Danish Academy Rome: Commemorating shippers and boatmen in the Roman river and Mediterranean coastal ports of Narbonne, Arles, and Lyon (Gaul)