Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
ArchaeologyPart of Humanities
(023) 8059 9092

Miss Penny Copeland 

Research Fellow/Technician

Miss Penny Copeland's photo

Miss Penny Copeland is a Research Fellow/Technician 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, and Egypt. 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.

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. I have also worked as a historic building consultant/ consultant archaeologist for McCurdy & Co., timber frame specialists and CgMs consultants.

I have worked as an archaeological illustrator throughout my career as an archaeologist, specialising in use of computer graphics packages.

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.

Other research projects

Rome’s Mediterranean Ports project (PortusLimen)

The Rome’s Mediterranean Ports Advanced Grant is funded under the European Research Council Seventh framework “Ideas” Specific programme. The project will last for five years. The temporal scope of the project is focused on the first three centuries AD.

Rome was connected to its Mediterranean provinces by commercial routes channelled through networks of ports acting as poly-functional nodes. Ships, people and goods moved along these, drawing the micro-regions of the Mediterranean into a closer economic and commercial relationship with the City. Central to the success of these networks were the major ports through which were channelled major commercial flows moving between Rome and its maritime hub at Portus and key ports in its Mediterranean provinces, and the relationships of these to lesser regional ports and anchorages. All of them can be described in terms of loosely configured “port-systems” that ensured the movement of ships and their cargoes around the Mediterranean. Some of these, particularly those in the eastern Mediterranean, can be traced back to the Hellenistic or earlier periods.

The Rome’s Mediterranean Ports project will address specific questions relating to the capacities of and inter-connections between a range of 30 selected ports in ways that will allow us to better understand their role in promoting the cohesion and integrity of the Roman Mediterranean during the imperial era.

  • The layouts of Roman ports. How far did ports represent a technological advance on what had existed previously? Did layout condition the capacities of ports for handling commercial traffic and supporting industrial activity?
  • The organization of commercial activity at ports. How far was this the result of state, city, private initiatives, or combinations of all three?
  • Hierarchies. What were the hierarchical relationships between Rome, the entrepôts and lesser ports and anchorages?
  • Pan-Mediterranean commercial and social connections between ports. What was extent of these and how far can we speak of networks of connection between them, individuals and cities?

Partners in the project include the University of Southampton, University of Lyon II Lumière, British School at Rome, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, and the Geographisches Institut, University of Cologne.




Research group

Archaeological Computing

Research project(s)

Parnassus Project

PARNASSUS is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the University of Southampton, UCL and the University of Bristol that is investigating the adverse environmental effects and adaptation measures needed for the protection of cultural heritage from climate change impact.


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.

Sort via:TypeorYear


Book Chapters

  • Copeland, P., Johnson, M., & Cooper, C. (2016). Bodiam: a new survey of the interior. In M. Johnson (Ed.), Lived Experience in the Later Middle Ages: Studies of Bodiam and other Elite Landscapes in South-Eastern England (pp. 25-50). Southampton, GB: The Highfield Press.
  • Copeland, P., Johnson, M., Scaife, R., & Catlin, K. (2016). The Environment of Bodiam: land, vegetation, and human impacts. In M. Johnson (Ed.), Lived Experience in the Later Middle Ages: Studies of Bodiam and other Elite Landscapes in South-Eastern England (pp. 75-94). Southampton, GB: The Highfield Press.
  • Copeland, P. (2011). Metal and metalworking. In L. Blue, & D. Peacock (Eds.), Myos Hormos - Quseir al-Qadim: Roman and Islamic Ports on the Red Sea. Volume 2: Finds from the Excavations 1999-2003 (University of Southampton Series in Archaeology; No. 6). Oxford, GB: Archaeopress.


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

Room Number: 65A/2235

Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings