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Professor Simon Keay 

Professor, Associate Dean, Research & Enterprise

Professor Simon Keay's photo

Professor Simon Keay is a Professor of Archaeology at the University of Southampton and a Fellow of the British Academy.

I have been at the University of Southampton since 1985. I specialise in the archaeology of the Roman Empire, with particular interests in Iberia, Italy and Roman commerce. I have been the Principal Investigator on numerous international research projects, including the Ager Tarraconensis survey, the AHRC funded projects Urban Connectivity in Iron Age and Roman Southern Spain, and the Roman Towns in the Middle and Lower Tiber Valley, and have directed excavations and geophysical survey at a range of sites in Spain and Italy. Since 2006 I have been Director of the AHRC-funded Portus Project as well as the Roman Port Networks Project.

I am also Research Professor and Director of Archaeology at the British School at Rome (2006-  ), Corresponding Member of the Institut Catala d'Estudis Catalans, member of the International Scientific Advisory Committee of the Institut Catala d'Arqueologia Classica, the International Committee of the Tabula Imperii Romani, chairs AHRC Panel C research applications. I am a member of the AHRC Peer Review College, serve on the editorial boards of numerous Spanish and Italian journals and am a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. I also have extensive experience of working with television and radio.





Research interests

There are two principal strands to my research interests. On the one hand they focus upon different aspects of the Roman Empire, most notably cultural change, urbanization, rural settlement and commercial and economic activity. On the other, I am interested in archaeological field techniques, most specifically relationships between excavation and geophysical data, and their interpretation.

Research Theme: Classical and historical archaeology

Research group

Classical and historical archaeology

Affiliate research groups

Archaeological Computing, Archaeological Prospection Service of Southampton (APSS), Southampton Ceramics Research Group, Maritime Archaeology

Research project(s)

Portus website

This website acts as a point of contact for the AHRC funded (2007-2014) Portus Project. It incorporates a range of information relating to the site of Portus, our ongoing research (aims and objectives, interim reports and publications), and other related news items, as well as hosting an active blog post.


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.

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PhD Supervision

I am willing to supervise topics related to the archaeology and history of the later Iron Age, Roman and late antique Mediterranean, and archaeological field techniques. I am particularly keen in supervising topics related to Roman Mediterranean ports.

I currently supervise or advise PhD students on the following topics:

  • Etruscan settlement
  • Roman town walls
  • Network analysis of Roman ceramic distribution
  • Roman cemeteries in Northern Italy
  • Roman commerce
Professor Simon Keay
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton
Avenue Campus, Highfield
SO17 1BF
United Kingdom

Room Number: 65A/3031

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