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Dr John Pearce

Dr John Pearce

Senior Lecturer in Archaeology

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 2252
Address Department of Classics
C2, North Wing
King's College London
London WC2R 2LS



After a first degree in Archaeology and Anthropology (Cambridge) and MA in Roman archaeology (Durham) my doctoral thesis Roman examined provincial burial practice (Durham). I worked at Oxford as research assistant on the Vindolanda writing tablets project and online editions of ancient documents before coming to King’s in 2003.

Research Interests and PhD supervision
  • Archaeology of the Roman Empire, especially Rome's north-west provinces and Roman Italy
  • Archaeology of death and burial
  • Archaeology of documents and literacy
  • Archaeology of Roman and pre-Roman landscapes
  • Roman small finds; visual culture and Roman bronzes

My research interests lie in Roman archaeology, especially the provinces of north-western Europe and Italy. I am especially interested in funerary evidence as a source for understanding Roman society, including commemorative memorials, burial rituals and the remains of the dead themselves. From 2002-2007 I co-directed a survey project in the Marche region of Italy, which explored the urbanisation process in an upland landscape, characterised by spectacular Iron Age tombs and a dense network of Roman towns. Having previously worked as a post-doctoral research assistant on the Vindolanda tablets website I maintain an interest in Roman frontiers and the archaeology of documents. I have a developing research interest in Roman ‘small finds’, i.e. small objects such as items of adornment, utensils etc., in particular their figural decoration as an understudied aspect of Roman visual culture. 

I am interested in supervising PhD students in:

  • Archaeology of the Roman Empire
  • Archaeology of the dead
  • Roman Britain

For more details please see my full research profile.

Selected Publications
  • 2015. Pearce, J. and Worrell, S. ‘Detecting Roman Britain: the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the study of provincial material culture’ Anales de Arqueología Cordobesa 25-26(25th anniversary volume), 17-46.
  • 2015. Pearce, J. ‘Urban exits: commercial archaeology and the study of death rituals and the dead in the towns of Roman Britain’, in M. Fulford and N. Holbrook eds, The Towns of Roman Britain. The Contribution of Commercial Archaeology since 1990, Britannia Monograph Series 27, (London), 138-66.
  • 2015. Redfern, R., DeWitte, S., Pearce, J. Hamlin, C. and Egging-Dinwiddy, K. ‘Urban-rural differences in Roman Dorset, England: a bioarchaeological perspective on Roman settlements’, American Journal of Physical Anthropology 157: 107-12.  DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22693
  • 2015. Pearce, J. ‘Status and burial’, in M. Millett, A. Moore, L. Revell et al. eds. Oxford Handbook of Roman Britain (Oxford)
  • 2014. Platts, H., Pearce, J., Barron, C., Lundock, J. and Yoo, Y. A. (eds) Proceedings of the 23rd Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, April 4th-6th 2013, King’s College London (Oxford)
  • 2013. Contextual archaeology of burial practice: case studies from Roman Britain, British Archaeological Reports (British Series 588) (Oxford) 

For a complete list of publications, please see my full research profile.


I teach a range of topics in Roman archaeology to undergraduates, from modules covering the entire sweep of Roman art, architecture and material culture to more specialized modules on the archaeology and history of Roman Britain, frontiers and Rome's western provinces, the city of Rome and ancient spectacle culture including the circus and gladiatorial arena.

At MA level I also teach dedicated modules on Britain and neighbouring provinces, the societies and culture of Roman frontiers and (with colleagues) on Latin Epigraphy.

Expertise and Public Engagement


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