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The University of Southampton
Archaeology Part of Humanities
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Miss Penny Copeland

Research Fellow in Archaeology

Miss Penny Copeland's photo

Miss Penny Copeland is a Research Fellow in Archaeology at the University of Southampton.

I have come to archaeology from a career as a General Practice Chartered Surveyor. Since becoming an archaeologist I have acquired extensive archaeological experience, excavating on sites in England, Scotland, Denmark, Egypt and Italy. I was involved over many years with the Als Landscape Project in Southern Denmark, and the Quseir al-Qadim/Myos Hormos project in Egypt carrying out excavation and finds processing on both sites. Since 2006 I have been particularly involved in the Portus Project in Rome, Italy, and the wider PortusLimen Project studying Ports throughout the Mediterranean.

I have continued to study buildings from within archaeology and researched the response of historic buildings to climate change as part of the AHRC funded Parnassus Project, a multi-disciplinary, multi-institution project with the Universities of UCL and Bristol. This included the Lived Experience in the Later Middle Ages project work at Bodiam Castle which included a new survey of the interior. I also work as a historic building consultant/ consultant archaeologist for McCurdy & Co., timber frame specialists.

I have worked as an archaeological illustrator throughout my career as an archaeologist, specialising in use of computer graphics packages. Illustrations include pottery from Nevis to India, native Canadian artefacts, Fijian shorelines, Caribbean excavations, animal and human bone, metalwork, basketry, etc. etc.

Research interests

As part of the AHRC funded Parnassus Project I was involved in a project to survey and study Bodiam Castle with Professor Matthew Johnson, now of Northwestern University, Chicago. This study, and other work, forms the basis of the Elite Landscapes project, looking at medieval gentry houses of southeast England. Through student survey projects, I have also become involved in looking at other gentry houses in southern England such as Chawton House and South Stoneham House.

I have been a team member of work at the excavation and post excavation publication of Portus, the Imperial port of ancient Rome, since 2007. When in Rome I work on the site survey, particularly total station surveys of the standing buildings, and finds processing and recording. In Britain, I continue to work on the collation and interpretation of site drawings for publication and dissemination.

I have also taken on the role of Project Manager and Illustrator for the PortusLimen project, where we are studying the formation and use of many more Roman ports around the whole of the Mediterranean together with epigraphy and iconography.

In my freelance work, I am particularly involved with timber frame building recording and historic building analysis. I am also beginning to research all things domestic cellar and basement-like…

Research group

Archaeological Computing

Research project(s)


The Portus Project is guided by two main objectives.  Firstly, it seeks to build a better understanding of Portus itself, as well as its relationship to Ostia, Rome, and the rest of the Mediterranean.  Secondly, it aims to develop techniques that will enhance the ways in which highly complex classical sites can be investigated and recorded, and evaluate the impact of those techniques.

I am a trustee and the curator of Bishop’s Waltham Museum, within Bishop’s Waltham Palace, Hampshire.

When not working for the University, I am a freelance Historic Buildings analyst, specialising in timber frames.

Miss Penny Copeland
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton
Avenue Campus, Highfield
SO17 1BF
United Kingdom

Room Number : 65A/2235

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