School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Dr Rob Collins

Lecturer in Material Culture



I am a Lecturer in Archaeology (Material Culture of the Northern Frontier) in the School of History, Classics & Archaeology.

Formerly, I was the Research Associate leading on the Frontiers of the Roman Empire Digital Humanities Initiative (FREDHI) at Newcastle. As suggested by my involvement with the project, I have an enduring interests in the archaeology and history of Roman frontiers and the Early Middle Ages. I also have a strong interest in landscapes, small finds and material culture. I have also worked as the Great North Museum Academic Liaison Officer at Newcastle, and I also worked for 8 years as the Finds Liaison Officer, North East, for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, based in the late Museum of Antiquities and its successor, the Great North Museum.


  • PhD Archaeology - University of York
  • MA Medieval Archaeology - University of York
  • BA Anthropology - State University of New York at Geneseo


  • Hadrian's Wall
  • Roman frontiers
  • Early Medieval Britain
  • small finds and coins


  • Society of Antiquaries (London)
  • Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies


  • Admissions Tutor, Archaeology (2017-present)


  • Editor, Roman Britain in 20xx: Hadrian's Wall; Northern England, Britannia
  • Keeper of Coins, Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Vice Chair, Hadrian's Wall Archaeology & Research Delivery Group
  • Member, Hadrian's Wall Learning and Interpretation Delivery Group
  • Coordinator, Roman Northern Frontiers Seminar
  • Trustee, Corbridge Excavation Fund
  • Organising Committee, Hadrian's Wall Pilgrimage 2019

Google scholar: Click here.



My research interests fall within two broad themes:

  • frontier studies
  • the collapse of complex societies

In practice, this has led to my specialization of the transition of Roman frontiers in late antiquity, with a particular focus on Hadrian's Wall. My research makes use of landscape analysis and archaeological remains of built structures and small finds to provide a social interpretation of the material record.

I also have interest in small finds, particularly those of the Roman, Early Medieval, and Medieval periods.

While I am interested very broadly in frontier societies, my geographic focus has been Britain, particularly focusing on the provincial Roman and Early Medieval (incl. Anglo-Saxon) archaeology.

More recent research has seen me exploring notions of sexuality in the Roman frontier, as well as examining the impact and reimaginings of Hadrian's Wall in popular and contemporary culture, which was explored in the Reading the Wall conference in June 2016 and continuing work.


WallCAP - Hadrian's Wall Community Archaeology Project

An HLF-funded project researching and addressing sites on the Historic England Heritage At Risk register associated with the Wall, and researching the evidence for dispersal and reuse of the stone building fabric from Hadrian's Wall and its installations.

Frontiers of the Roman Empire Digital Humanities Initiative

I was the lead researcher for the Frontiers of the Roman Empire Digital Humanities Initiative (FREDHI), which  developed cutting-edge digital research tools using Hadrian's Wall and other Roman frontiers as the focus of this research.

NU Digital Heritage

This project emerged out of FREDHI, in building a digital archive of the world-class material culture assemblages from the Hadrians Wall World Heritage Site. We offer 3D scans of inscribed and scultped stones and artefacts, which can be used for teaching and research.

Burial in Early Bernicia

Recent discoveries of early Anglo-Saxon artefacts reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme have highlighted new sites of archaeological interest. I am leading on this research, including site-based evaluations in collaboration with Prof Sam Turner (Newcastle) and Dr Sarah Semple (Durham).

The End of Empire: The northern frontier in the fourth-fifth centuries AD

The End of Empire project was funded by the AHRC, resulting in the publication of my 2012 book with Routledge, Hadrian's Wall and the End of Empire.


2017-2018 Academic Year

  • ARA2091: Archaeologies of the Roman Empire
  • ARA3013: Early Medieval Britain
  • ARA3021: Frontier Communities of Roman Britain (module leader)
  • ARA8030: Frontier Communities of Roman Britain (module leader)
  • ARA8113: Early Medieval Britain
  • ARA8150: Graduate Seminar in Roman Archaeology

Prior to 2017

I have contributed to a number of modules, including:

  • ARA2091: Archaeologies of the Roman Empire
  • ARA3013: Early Medieval Britain
  • ARA2012: Fieldwork and Archaeological Practice
  • CAH 2013: Sex, Bodies, and Identity in Antiquity
  • ARA8113: Early Medieval Britain
  • ARA8128: Armies and Frontiers of the Roman Empire

I was also an Educator on the Hadrian's Wall MOOC (massive on-line open course), developing content and tutoring during the first three runs.