Ancient Economies

Building on a range of successful area and thematic studies in the past two decades, the ancient economies group is exploring the inter-related dynamics of social intentions and economic behaviour across Eurasia during the first millennia BCE to CE.

About this Group

Among the topics of analysis are resource extraction and exploitation (organic and inorganic), production, and exchange, and the institutional framework of production and business (coined silver; Vipasca tablets, Spain; Periplus Maris Eyrthraei in the Persian Gulf).  Quantitative and qualitative analyses focus on urban and rural environments; and the interface between settled communities and nomadic pastoralists.

documenting faunal and ceramic finds, Pistiros, Bulgaria (2013)

Documenting faunal and ceramic finds in Pistiros, Bulgaria (2013)


Recent post-doctoral researchers

  • Valentina Gasperini (Marie-Curie post-doc –  2014-16), Trade Roads in ancient deserts: an Egyptian case study. The unrecognised Late Bronze Age commercial route between the Mediterranean and middle Egypt
  • Claire Holleran (currently University of Exeter): Shopping in Ancient Rome, Oxford University Press, 2012
  • April Pudsey, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow (currently University of London, Birkbeck College): Demography and the Greco-Roman World. New Insights and Approaches, Oxford University Press (with Claire Holleran)

PhD students

  • Esme Hammerle, Technological Change or Consistency? An Investigation of Faience Produced from the Middle to the New Kingdom at Abydos, Egypt (awarded 2012)
  • A. Hodgkinson, Capital Cities of the New Kingdom: a spatial analysis of production and socio-economics in Late Bronze Age Egypt (awarded 2014)
  • Małgorzata Grzybalska, Dietary habits in domestic contexts: A case study at Adjiyska Vodenitsa in west central Thrace in its regional context 5th century to 3rd century BC (awarded 2013)
  • H. Pethen, GIS analysis of Middle Kingdom Egyptian ritualistic/religious sites in desert contexts
  • C. Werschkun, Resource procurement and management in Egyptian settlements of the Old Kingdom (awarded 2011)
  • Jason Wickham, Sources of Slaves in Late Republican Rome (awarded 2014).
  • Pablo Fernández-Reyes, The metallurgy of Roman Military Equipment from the first- and second centuries AD
  • Peter Gethin, Archaeometric examination of medieval ferruginous slags collected from the sites of Tell Dhiban, Jordan and the Armenian Garden, Jerusalem
  • Lucinda Kirby (AHRC-funded), Fourth Century AD Egypt
  • Tracey O’Leary, Post-Roman Wirral
  • Alan Williams, Linking Ore to Metal – Geochemical and isotopic characterization of the Great Orme Bronze Age copper mine to trace the metal supply and the exchange networks.

Knowledge Exchange

Zosia Archibald chaired a round table on ‘Classics and the media’ at the 2014 Classical Association (CA) conference in Nottingham. This event was attended by CA President and BBC broadcaster, Martha Kearney.

Zosia is also an extraordinary member of the scientific committee and prepared an exhibition at the Musée du Louvre, Paris, which was entitled ‘Le royaume des Odryses’ and featured material from her excavations at the Iron Age commercial centre of Pistiros, Bulgaria.

Sue Stallibrass is a regular speaker at regional archaeology day schools and local society lecture series, highlighting the relevance of scientific approaches to studies of ancient economies. This includes occasional hands-on workshop training sessions such as the one held for Lake District National Park Authority archaeology volunteers in June 2014.

Sue has contributed to the North West England, Scottish, and Hadrian’s Wall Archaeological Research Frameworks and regularly organises and delivers Continuous Professional Development (CPD) training, eg.

  • national guidelines
  • day schools
  • casework on archaeological scientific methods relating to economic and environmental research questions.

Past events


Sue Stallibrass organised a session on 'Food and Drink' for the LIMES Congress at Ingoldstadt, September 2015.

Conferences highlighting the relevance of mineral and livestock resources to the economy of the Roman Empire at the following conferences:

  • Roman Archaeology Conference (March 2014)
  • Reading UK & the Joint Association for Environmental Archaeology/ UK Archaeological Sciences Conference, Cardiff (April 2013).

Sue also organised the Empires session at the International Council for Archaeozoology (ICAZ) Conference, Paris (August 2010).

Colin Adams co-organized two Liverpool Conferences:

  • Representing Administration and Bureaucracy’ (2012)
  • Bureacracy, Corruption, and Accountability in Historical Perspective’ (2011)

Zosia Archibald co-organised the Liverpool conference ‘Retail and wholesale in the Greek and Roman eastern Mediterranean' (2011).

Seminars during Session 2014-15

  • 'Migration in Roman Egypt: problems and possibilities' (Colin Adams)
  • 'Athenian exceptionalism: a social approach to Athenians and their peers in the fourth century BC'  (Zosia Archibald)
  • 'Legal Petitions in The Archive of Theophanes (AD 300-325) (Lucinda Kirby)
  • 'Large-scale fishing and fish salting in the Roman world: some considerations on capital, labour, and organisation', delivered by guest speaker, Annalisa Marzano (Reading)



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