I studied for my first degree in Ancient History at University College Swansea, and then took an MA in Roman Social History at the University of Reading. A Ph.D. on Roman funerary monuments followed. I then taught in the Classics Department at the University of Reading for several years, before joining the Department of Classical Studies at the Open University.
My main research area is Roman death, including funerary customs and funerary monuments. Looking at Roman death ritual, and how dead Romans were thought of, remembered and commemorated, has the potential to illuminate many aspects of Roman society. I was drawn initially to Roman funerary memorials, focusing on the commemoration of key groups such as freed slaves, gladiators and soldiers. In recent years I have researched and compiled a source book on death in ancient Rome (Routledge 2007) and written a book on the dying, the dead and the bereaved in Rome (Continuum 2009). Both volumes present a range of evidence that illustrates everything from the deathbed to the afterlife, placing that evidence in its ancient context, and also in the context of recent academic scholarship. I co-organised two one day conferences on ‘Memory and Mourning: Death in Ancient Rome’, held in Birmingham (November 2007) and Milton Keynes (February 2008), the proceedings of which were published by Oxbow in 2011. I am currently investigating Roman traditions surrounding grief and mourning in the Roman world, and have written several chapters on this subject. I maintain an interest in the burial and commemoration of Roman soldiers, with a chapter on literary representations of military corpses published in War as Spectacle (Bloomsbury 2015), which I also co-edited, and a recent article on the burial (real and literary) of the Roman war dead (Mortality 2017).
Roman Death. The Dying and the Dead in Ancient Rome. (Continuum 2009). Online review
Death in Ancient Rome: A sourcebook. (Routledge 2007).
Constructing Identity: The Roman Funerary Monuments of Aquileia, Mainz and Nîmes. (British Archaeological Report. International Series 960 2001).
War as Spectacle. Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Display of Armed Conflict. Joint editor with A. Bakogianni (Bloomsbury 2015). http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/war-as-spectacle-9781472522290/
Memory and Mourning: Studies on Roman Death. Joint editor with J. Huskinson. (Oxbow 2011). Online review
Death and Disease in the Ancient City. Joint editor with E.Marshall (Routledge 2000). Online review
'Living without the dead: finding solace in ancient Rome' in F. Tappenden and C. Daniel-Hughes (eds.), Coming Back to Life. The Permeability of Past and Present, Mortality and Immortality, Death and Life in the Ancient Mediterranean (McGill Scholarly Publishing 2017), 39-70. http://comingbacktolife.mcgill.ca/
'A sense of grief: the role of the senses in the performance of Roman mourning' in E. Betts (ed.) Senses of the Empire.: Multisensory Approaches to Roman Culture (Routledge 2017), 86-103.
'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori: the practical and symbolic treatment of the Roman war dead' in Mortality 22, (2017), 1-15.
'Bodies on the battlefield: the spectacle of Rome's fallen soldiers' in A. Bakogianni and V. Hope (eds.), War as Spectacle. Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Display of Armed Conflict (Bloomsbury 2015), 157-177.
‘Remembering to mourn: personal mementos of the dead in ancient Rome’ in V. Hope and J. Huskinson (eds.), Memory and Mourning: Studies on Roman Death (Oxbow, 2011), 176-195.
‘Livia’s tears: the presentation of Roman grief’ in H. Whittaker (ed.), In Memoriam: Commemoration, Communal Memory and Gender Values in the Ancient Greco-Roman World (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011), 91-125.
‘”The end is to the beginning as the beginning is to the end”: birth, death and the Classical body’ in D. Garrison (ed.), A Cultural History of the Human Body in Antiquity (Berg, 2010), 25-43.
‘At home with the dead: Roman funeral traditions and Trimalchio’s tomb’ in J. Prag and I. Repath (eds.), A Handbook to Petronius (Blackwells, 2009), 140-60.
‘Age and the Roman army: the evidence of tombstones’ in M. Harlow and R.Laurence (eds.), Age and Ageing in the Roman Empire. Journal of Roman Archaeology. Supplementary Series 65 (2007), 111-130.
‘Trophies and tombstones: commemorating the Roman soldier’ in R. Gilchrist (ed.) The Social Commemoration of Warfare. World Archaeology Vol. N: 35.1 (2003), 79-97.
‘Remembering Rome: memory, funerary monuments and the Roman soldier’ in H. Williams (ed.) Archaeologies of Remembrance. Death and Memory in Past Societies. (Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 2003) 113-140.
Contempt and Respect: the Treatment of the Corpse in Ancient Rome’ in V. M. Hope and E. Marshall (eds.), Death and Disease in the Ancient City. (Routledge 2000) 104-127.
‘Fighting for Identity: the Funerary Commemoration of Italian Gladiators’ in A. Cooley (ed.), The Epigraphic Landscape of Roman Italy. (BICS Supplement 73 2000) 93-113.
‘Inscription and Sculpture: the Construction of Identity in the Military Tombstones of Roman Mainz’ in G. Oliver (ed.), Funerary Inscriptions: Problems and Prospects. (Liverpool Classical Press 2000) 155-186.
‘Negotiating Identity and Status: the Gladiators of Roman Nîmes’ in J. Berry and R. Laurence (eds.), Cultural Identity in the Roman Empire. (Routledge 1998) 179-195.
‘Words and Pictures: the Interpretation of Romano-British Tombstones’ Britannia 28 (1997), 245-258.
‘A Roof Over the Dead: Communal Tombs and Family Structure’ in R. Laurence and A. Wallace-Hadrill (eds.), Domestic Space in the Roman World. (Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplement 22 Portsmouth, RI, 1997), 69-88.
'Constructing Roman Identity: funerary monuments and social structure in the Roman world' Mortality 2 (1997), 103-121.
‘Funerary Practices in Roman Italy’ (co-authored with E-J Graham) in A. Cooley (ed.), A companion to Roman Italy (Blackwells, forthcoming)
‘Funerary practice in the city of Rome’ in A. Claridge and C. Holleran (eds.), A Companion to the City of Rome (Blackwells, forthcoming).
'Inscriptions and Identity' in M. Millet, L. Revell, and A. Moore (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Roman Britain (OUP, forthcoming)
‘Tombs’ in R. Kastenbaum, The MacMillan Encyclopaedia of Death and Dying (MacMillan 2002).
‘The city of Rome: capital and symbol’ in J. Huskinson (ed.), Experiencing Rome. Culture, Identity and Power in the Roman Empire. (Routledge 2000) 63-94.
‘Status and identity in the Roman world’ in J. Huskinson (ed.), Experiencing Rome. Culture, Identity and Power in the Roman Empire. (Routledge 2000) 125-152.
‘The Iron and Roman Ages: c. 600 BC to AD 400’ in C. Gittings and P. Jupp (eds.), Death in England. An Illustrated History. (Manchester University Press 1999) 40-64.
‘Social Pecking order in the Roman world’, BBC History-Romans (2003)
My main teaching area is Roman history, especially social history, and I have contributed substantial teaching materials to A219 (Exploring the Classical World), A330 (Myth in the Greek and Roman Worlds), A340 (Roman Empire), AA309 (Culture, Identity and Power in the Roman Empire), and A864 (MA in Classical Studies, Part 2) covering areas such as Roman Imperial history (Augustus, Claudius, Nero, Domitian, Hadrian), Roman history writing (Suetonius, Tacitus), Italian archaeology (Pompeii, Ostia) and Roman social history (family, housing, dining, bathing, funerary customs). I am currently chair of A219 (Exploring the Classical World), and deputy chair of its replacement module (A229), which will first present in 2018.
I would be interested in supervising postgraduate work in Roman history, in particular Roman social history, and especially work related to Roman funerary customs and funerary monuments.