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Professor Roland Smith

Professor Roland Smith

  • Professor of Classical Archaeology and Art


I am from Edinburgh and studied Classics and then Classical Archaeology at Oxford, where I was a Fellow by Examination in Ancient History at Magdalen College (1981-1986). I taught Hellenistic and Roman archaeology and art-history at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University from 1986 to 1995. I have participated in archaeological fieldwork in Turkey since 1983, at the sites of Oinoanda, Balboura, and Aphrodisias, and have been director of the excavation project at Aphrodisias since 1991. I returned to Oxford to take up my current position at Lincoln in 1995.


My main research interests are in the art and visual cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world. My work is directed at the historical interpretation of ancient visual representation and its relationship with contemporary social and political culture. In connection with research and excavation at Aphrodisias, I have a particular interest in the art and archaeology of the Greek cities of the Eastern Roman Empire and have been engaged in the study and publication of the new marble finds there since 1985. With the historian Bryan Ward-Perkins I directed a project funded by the Art and Humanities Research Council on ‘The Last Statues of Antiquity’ (2009-2012) that investigated the distinctive character of statue use in the period from AD 284 to 650. In 2018 I started a three-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship to work on a visual history of the Greek East under Rome.

Select publications

Roman Portrait Statuary from Aphrodisias: Aphrodisias II (Philipp von Zabern, Mainz, 2006)

Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World (Clarendon Press, Oxford 2012), with B. Dignas,

The Marble Reliefs from the Julio-Claudian Sebasteion: Aphrodisias VI (Philipp von Zabern, Darmstadt, 2013)

The Last Statues of Antiquity (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2016), with B. Ward-Perkins,

Antinous: boy made god (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 2018)