Welcome to the website of the Leiden University Landscapes of Early Roman Colonization project. This archaeological research project, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), explores the role of non-urban settlements in Roman colonial expansion in the formative phase of the Roman Empire (4th-1st centuries BC).

This website offers more information about the scope, outline and methodology of this project, as well as overviews of our team members and their individual research, relevant publications and past/upcoming activities, such as lectures, workshops and conferences.
Another section of this website is devoted to ongoing and previous fieldwork projects in the regions of Molise and Basilicata – Southern Italy (see map below).

Please feel free to contact us for more information.


New project publications:

Roman colonial coinages beyond the city-state: a view from the Samnite world
Marleen K. Termeer
in: Journal of Ancient History 4.2 – 2016, pp. 158-190.

JAHThis article reassesses the socio-political significance of coinage production by Latin colonies in the third century BC. It challenges the traditional assumption that these coinages confirm the colonies’ political status as autonomous city-states, and thus contributes to recent research on the character of early Roman colonization. It is argued that early Samnite experiments with coinage in the fifth and fourth centuries are important comparanda for the colonial coinages: both the early colonial coinages and the Samnite issues are produced in interaction with but on the fringes of a Greek world in which coinage production and use was well established. The comparison shows that the context of production of the colonial coinages of Cales, Suessa Aurunca, Aesernia and Beneventum is similar to previous and contemporary issues produced by Samnite groups active in Samnium and Campania. In both cases, production is most probably connected to mercenary or military activities. In this context, it is improbable that a strong conceptual connection between political autonomy and coinage production existed in Italy when the Latin colonies produced their coinages. Rather than seeing coinage as proof of their independent city-state status, it is suggested that coinage production helped to develop the colonies’ socio-political self-definition.

Read online through De Gruyter Online.

Votives in Latin colonies: a perspective beyond ‘religious romanization’
Marleen K. Termeer
in: Marion Bolder-Boos & Dominik Maschek (eds.) 2016 Orte der Forschung, Orte des Glaubens: Neue Perspektiven für Heiligtümer in Italien von der Archaik bis zur Späten Republik, Dr. Rudolf Hagelt GmbH, Bonn, pp. 117-127.

Boos & Maschek 2016This paper explores new ways to use votive material from Latin colonies as a source for questions about cultural change in Mid-Republican Italy. While research has traditionally focused on specific categories of votive material as indicators of Roman influence, I argue that a more comprehensive account of the role of the colonies in cultural change is needed, that takes into consideration the complete spectrum of votive material present in the colonies. Two main questions are important: how did material become available in the colonies, and what meanings were attached to it locally? The potential of this approach is illustrated by an analysis of two categories of votive material: bronze statuettes of Hercules and life-size terracotta statues and heads. By considering both the cultic and social considerations that informed the selection of votives, and large scale dynamics of production and exchange, a more dynamic image of the colonies’ role in processes of cultural change emerges.

Order a copy through Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH.


Course on Early Roman Expansion and Imperialism in Italy

April 18-30 2017, Rome – Jelsi

Organised in collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR), the British School at Rome (BSR), and the Centro Didattico Internazionale di Studi Archeologici di Jelsi.

Teaching staff:
Dr. J. Pelgrom (KNIR), Prof. C. Smith (BSR), Dr. T.D. Stek (Leiden University)

Target group:
Students in Classics, (Ancient) History, Archaeology, Political sciences enrolled in one of the KNIR partner universities (UvA, VU, UL, UU, RU and RUG) and from UK universities.

Application deadline:
January 15 2017


Overview map of past and ongoing fieldwork projects; click blue placemarks for more info.

Field survey in the area of San Giovanni in Galdo 2005 (photo J. Pelgrom)

Field survey in the area of San Giovanni in Galdo 2005 (photo Jeremia Pelgrom)

© 2017 Landscapes of Early Roman Colonization project, Faculty of Archaeology – Leiden University

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