Research interest

My research is driven by my curiosity about the structuring elements of daily life. In my PhD thesis, I explored the ways in which spaces within Roman military complexes played an active role in the structuring of social relations within military communities. The role of spatial setting was a complex two-way process: official interest, ideology and the soldiers’ perception of unit identity fed into each other. Military order materialised in architectural form was a very strong source of power. The institution of the army made itself visible on a daily basis to the people who lived in the spaces, while the soldiers themselves held their bases in high esteem. My research explores the social reproduction of the organisation of military spaces, its ideological significance, the relationship between institutional identity and the built form, the impact of the size of the base on its functioning and shaping of relations between people, and the role of the temporal dimension in garrison life.

My research revolves around social use of space in the Roman army. Here you can find out a bit more about the individual themes I am developing in my research and, if the work has been published, the appropriate references.

I am currently working on developing a research project into board games in the Roman army so watch this space!


  • Roman military bases
  • Social use of space
  • Socially constructed time
  • Archaeology of movement
  • Finds distribution
  • Hadrian's Wall
  • Roman Army in North Africa
  • Cognitive Archaeology


  • Movement as a social variable

    This could be a full decription about the project

  • Social dynamics in military communities

    This could be a full decription about the project

  • Social construction of time

    I am interested in socially-constructed time in the Roman army in order to address  how temporal changes affected the use of military bases. Following the recent work of Haynes (2013: 165 -190) on the habitus of daily duties within the army, time is recognised as an important factor in the structuring of social space; spaces are used differently through the day and different spaces are used at different times of the day. The ‘micro-cycle’ of the day underpinned activity in the base. Longer, seasonal to yearly, cycles in the life of a military base were significant too. These are potential ‘macro-cycles’ of time, working on the basis of: traditional and calendric time; natural seasons; periods of campaign; as well as, by juxtaposition, periods of withdrawal from active service, and the periods of transition between the two.

  • Discipline and normative social practices in Roman armies

    Phang discussed both the economic (control of consumption) and corporal means of disciplining in the Roman army. In addition to corporal punishment a further type of discipline over the body is that exerted through control of its movement in space. MY research investigates how military bases as institutionalised complexes formed regularised, disciplined environment. This occurred both through the practices of movement, but also through the way time and repetitive routines regulated the activities and whereabouts of the soldiers. The control over soldiers was expressed through the control over their bodies in space. Through daily record keeping at the principia, the documentation of soldiers leave and practices requiring for the men to be present at a particular time in a particular plaice. Recent studies leave open to discussion the issues of the trespass of this authority and whether it is possible to pin such activity to the physical space of the base. In my research, I review the evidence for different degrees of trespass of authority in the form of unauthorised practice in the context of the fort. I also look at what evidence there is for control of freedom of movement in a Roman military base and the extent to which the soldiers themselves became dependent on systems, which in the first place were implemented to control them.

  • Extended military communities

    My research primarily concerns the interiors of the military bases and mostly the experience of the soldiers. The bases, by no means were only occupied by soldiers and they were also not the only spaces in which the soldiers were present and through which they moved. Nevertheless, it is those spaces that are the basic foundation for exploring the social experience of the Roman army. I am however, very much interested in studying the wider military community and reflect on these aspects in my research where possible.

Conference Posters

I have presented several conference posters. In this section you can download the poster I presented at RAC/TRAC in Frankfurt shortly after I started my PhD. This outlines my PhD topic and presents useful visual material.  The second poster concerns an application of cognitive theory to the study of Roman Army units, which I presented at the University of York.