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.


Guest lecture by Arianna Zapelloni Pavia

Cultural change in the religious landscape of Umbria between the 4th and the 1st centuries BCE

Date: Wednesday May 10
Time: 16:00 – 17:00
Location: Van Steenis Building B1.11 (meeting room Near Eastern & Mediterranean Archaeology)

Abstract: How did the Roman conquest affect religious behavior in the region of Umbria, and what can the archaeological record tell us about the change that followed the Roman takeover? In this talk, I will first introduce the broad terrain of discussion about cultural change in general, and in the religious sphere specifically. Second, I will review the different approaches used by scholars to study religious rituals and the role that they play in shaping the cultural identities of a community. This will lead me to consider the role of material manifestation of ritual activities in Central Italy, namely the votive deposits. Finally, I will focus on two specific case studies from Umbria, the sacred cave of Grotta Bella and the Large Substructure of Ocriculum, to explore the potential of the archaeological record to reveal aspects of the dynamics of cultural change in the context of the Roman conquest.



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.


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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