School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Professor Ian Haynes

Professor of Archaeology


Following my first (archaeology) degree I travelled extensively in the Middle East and Asia, before returning to England to participate in excavations on Roman sites in the capital.  This coincided fortuitously with the 'Big Bang' development of the City of London when many important areas became temporarily open to archaeologists.  I was lucky enough to get to work on both the Huggin Hill Baths and the Forum site at Threadneedle Street.  This work was part of what has been for me a very happy association with the archaeologists and curators of the Museum of London, which also included time in that Museum's Medieval Department and work on the curatorial team of its Post-Medieval Department.  My wish however was to return to academia to pursue my interests in the Ancient World, so after a period of leave which included very nearly getting lost in Amazonia, I returned to university.  I received my doctorate in Roman archaeology from Oxford University in 1994, and then lectured there for a year while also working as a field archaeologist for Oxford Archaeology.  Thereafter I moved to Birkbeck College, University of London as Lecturer in Archaeology (October 1995).  In between the two appointments I was fortunate to travel the Silk Road between Pakistan and Xian in China.  After a relatively short period at Birkbeck I became Director of the college's rapidly developing Archaeology and History programme. I became a full Professor when I was awarded the Chair of Archaeology at Newcastle University in 2007.  Since then I have served in various roles within the University, including Director of Research for the School of Historical Studies and Head of Archaeology.  I direct, with Professor Peter Stone, the University's Frontiers of the Roman Empire Digital Humanities Initiative ( ) and lead NU Digital Heritage (  My research interests and projects are summarised under the Research Tab (see above)


Chair, Clayton Trust for Roman Antiquities (2018-); AHRC Peer Review College Reviewer (2017-),  Visiting Fellow, Peterhouse College, Cambridge (Easter 2017); Visiting Scholar, McDonald Institute Cambridge (2017); PI Research Project of the Year, Current Archaeology Awards (2015); Research Quality Reviewer University College Cork (2015); Fellow, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (elected 2013); Director/Trustee, Vindolanda Trust (2012-); External Examiner, Glasgow University (2011-2014); Council, Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle Upon Tyne (2010-present); External Examiner, University of Oxford (2008-2011); Trustee, Clayton Collection, Chesters (2009-); Member, Maryport Research Committee (2009-); Member, Hadrian’s Wall Management Committee Steering Group (2007-2015); Fellow, Society of Antiquaries of London (elected 2003); Panel of Lecturers, Roman Society (2000-Present); Chair, Archaeology Committee of the Roman Society (2000-2004); External Examiner, University of Leicester (2003-2006); External Assessor, University of Surrey (1998-2001); Council Member, Standing Conference on London Archaeology Committee (2000-2003)

Reviewer for Major International Awards Organisations

Austrian Science Fund (FWF (Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung); Research Foundation - Flanders (Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen, FWO); Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (De Nederlandse Organisatie voor WetenschappelijkNWO); Committee for Research and Exploration, National Geographic Society.

Examination of PhDs

King’s College, University of London, University of St Andrews; Trinity College, Dublin; University College London; Royal Holloway College, University of Cambridge; University of London; University of Glasgow; University of Oxford; University of Southampton; University of Leicester; Leiden University, Netherlands; University of Liverpool; University of Auckland, NZ.


My work examines the extent to which the Roman Empire can be defined archaeologically. This involves investigating the ways the imperial system helped generate new regional cultures and, in turn, the way in which these cultures helped define the face of the imperial system. I examine these dynamics through the archaeology of cult, the army and systems of communication and exchange.  I am also very interested in the development and application of advanced prospection and excavation techniques as well as in the use of digital imaging in artefact studies.  My fieldwork activities currently focus on projects in Britain, Italy and Romania.

In Britain I direct work at Corbridge Roman Station, Northumberland and at Beckfoot Roman Fort and Environs, Cumbria.  Though both projects originate prior to my participation with the international Cultural Heritage Through Time (2) research programme, they have also benefitted and benefitted from this AHRC-funded activity.  I am also fortunate to serve as the Project Director of the Roman Temples Project, Maryport, alongside Tony Wilmott (Field Director).  The research is generously funded by Senhouse Museum Trust and Newcastle University and is currently being written up.   Maryport was home to a major fort and extra-mural settlement in the Roman period.  From 2011 to 2015, my colleagues and I excavated the site where antiquarian diggings in the 1870s revealed the largest single concentration of Roman altars ever to be found in Britain.  The altar group is of considerable importance to the study of religion, cult sites and frontier communities and has been much debated ever since its discovery.  Our research has revealed that the pits in which the altars were discovered were not ritual deposits, as was widely believed, but rather part of pile foundations for a group of timber structures of the late Roman or early medieval period.  These structures lay adjacent to a group of long cist graves, which may be associated with an early Christian community at the site.  Our work in 2013-15 took us closer to the fort and involved the investigation of what we now know to be the north-westernmost classical temple in the Roman world and a second circular cult building.  Access to the site was granted by Hadrian's Wall Heritage Trust and subsequently the North of England Civic Trust.

In Italy I have the privilege of co-leading a major research project on the Lateran Quarter of Rome with Professor Paolo Liverani of the University of Florence .  At the centre of our research area lies the Lateran Archbasilica.  This cathedral is the Pope’s Cathedral, an extraordinarily important complex, known as the Caput et Mater of all churches of Western Christendom.  It was founded by Constantine on the site of one of two forts previously used to house the Imperial Horseguard (the equites singulares).  Beneath the basilica that today's visitors see lies an extensive labyrinth of excavated spaces (scavi), opened up from the C18 onwards.   These contain parts not only of the earliest phases of the basilica and baptistery, and several important Late Antique Christian buildings but also substantial parts of the Castra Nova of the equites singulares, a bath complex, market and shop buildings.   Beneath all this lies the remains of a substantial palatial dwelling which preserves many of its frescoes intact.  I am very fortunate to be working with Paolo and also with Giandomenico Spinola of the Vatican Museums on this exciting project.  Our survey of the Lateran has important implications for students of Church architecture, soldiers in Rome under the high empire, and more generally of Roman topography. Working with colleagues Professor Lex Bosman (Amsterdam) and Iwan Peverett, we have been able to offer a compelling visualisation of the Basilica in its original Constantinian form.  The project is supported by the British School at Rome.  Our book on St John Lateran, which draws on a very successful conference held at the School, is nearing completion.  The archaeology of the area around the Archbasilica is also of exceptional importance, and thanks to the very considerable generosity of a major donor and the British School of Rome, we have been able to expand our subterranean activities. Amongst other area under active exploration by the team is the house believed to have been the childhood home of Marcus Aurelius.  It is a tremendous privilege to work alongside team colleagues Dr Thea Ravasi, Stephen Kay, Alex Turner, Denise and Dave Heslop and Jon Allison on this project, and we acknowledge with gratitude the support of the Soprintendenza Speciale Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio Di Roma and the Azienda Ospedaliera San Giovanni-Addolorata in making this research possible. 

Lessons hard won beneath Rome have proven helpful in the honing scanning and imaging methods we use in our AHRC-funded research at Pompeii and Herculaneum.  Here I have the good fortune to work as Co-Investigator with the artist Catrin Huber on the Expanded Interiors Project .  This exciting project seeks to develop a dialogue between archaeology and fine art while drawing on domestic interiors, decorative schemes and small finds from the Vesuvian cities for inspiration. Our work focusses most particularly on the House of the Cryptoporticus at Pompeii, and the House of the Beautiful Courtyard at Herculaneum.  We are full of appreciation for the generous support we have received from the Ministero Dei Beni E Delle Attivita’ Culturali E Del Turismo – Parco Archeologico Ercolano and the Parco Archeologico Pompei.

While retaining a determined interest in the grubbiest elements of material culture, I retain an enduring love of some of the more finely crafted sculptural and pictoral art from the Ancient World.  The Expanded Interiors project has allowed me to reflect further on such material, but other recent collaborations have proven tremendously gratifying too.  The visual culture of Gandhara first fired my imagination during my travels in Pakistan in the 1980s, so I was extremely grateful to be allowed to work on scanning and modelling key pieces in the Ashmolean Museum’s fine collection alongside Dr Peter Stewart, Director of Oxford University’s Classical Art Centre and Dr Mallica Kumbera Landrus, Keeper of the Museum’s Eastern Art Department.

The very natural juxtaposition of grubby conditions and fine sculpture – all integral parts of a complex archaeological environment require multiple specialist approaches - leads me the other area where I am currently active, Apulum, (Alba Iulia, Romania). The tri-national Apulum Project, which I co-directed with Prof. Alexandru Diaconescu of the University of Cluj, and Priv. Doz. Dr Alfred Schäfer, then of Humboldt University, now of the Römisch-Germanisches Museum, Cologne and Cologne University. The Apulum Project focussed primarily on the excavation of a sanctuary of Liber Pater within the Roman city of colonia Aurelia Apulensis, but it opened up a remarkable set of opportunities.  In particular the cult pits that were discovered offered a powerful glimpse of nature of rituals practiced at the site.  This in turn led to a longer-term interest of mine in votive deposition and to the AHRC funded favissa project, a study of votive deposition in the Roman Empire.  The Apulum sanctuary was built over a major pottery production site (and indeed, pottery production continued after the sanctuary was founded).  Our work on these tightly grouped pottery finds allowed us to develop typologies of pottery in use Roman Dacia, a major resource tool.  Leading this part of the work were colleagues Mihaela Ciausescu, Dr Constanze Höpken, Dr Manuel Fiedler and Dr Robin Symonds.  The pottery data was to prove of considerable importance when a second phase of Apulum research, this time with Doru Bogdan and Professor Iuli Paul, examined the patterns of settlement in the vicinity in the British Academy funded Apulum Hinterland Project.  After an extended period away from Romania, I am now very happy to be able to return again to this wonderful country and to bring our work there to a wider audience.