Professor David Mattingly

Professor of Roman Archaeology

School/Department: Archaeology and Ancient History, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2610



I completed a BA in History and a PhD in Roman archaeology at the University of Manchester followed by a British Academy Post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute of Archaeology Oxford (1986-1989). I then held an Assistant Professorship at the University of Michigan before coming to Leicester in December 1991 as a Lecturer. I was promoted to Reader (1995) and Professor (1998). I served as College Director of Research (2009-2012) and Head of School 2015-2019. I was also involved in the formation of the AHRC Midlands4Cities doctoral consortium and have served as one of the Leicester site directors. I was a member of the national research assessment panels for Archaeology in RAE2008 REF2014 and REF2021 in the last of these serving as Chair. I was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2003 and Member of the Academia Europaea in 2013. I regularly serve on national and international grant bodies academic and editorial committees.


My primary research is on the archaeology of the Roman empire and its neighbours especially in Britain and Africa but also ranging more widely in chronological and geographical terms. I have organised projects in many different areas: Libya Italy Jordan Tunisia Morocco Britain. A major series of projects has taken me beyond the boundaries of the Roman empire in Libya (the Saharan heartlands of an important people called the Garamantes) and in Morocco. Heritage management is another interest in particular current threats to archaeology (portable and non-portable) as in the Endangered Archaeology of the Middle East and North Africa Project.

My research focuses on the study of rural settlement farming technology (especially olive oil production) ancient mining and the economy; urbanism and the urban economy; post-colonial and de-colonial approaches to the impact of Rome; the evolution of the Roman military frontiers. I have had grants as PI/Co-I with a total value of c.£10 million from a wide range of funders including the European Research Council (Advanced Grants) AHRC NERC British Academy British Council Leverhulme Trust Arcadia Fund. 


In total I have (co-)authored/edited 30 books and over 300 articles and book chapters.

Duckworth, C., Cuénod, A. and Mattingly, D.J. (eds). Mobile Technologies in the Ancient Sahara and Beyond. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press and The Society for Libyan Studies (2020).

Bland, R. Chadwick, A, Ghey, E, Haselgrove, C. Mattingly, D. Rogers, A and Taylor, J. Iron Age and Roman Coin Hoards in Britain. Oxford: Oxbow (2020).

Sterry, M. and Mattingly, D.J. (eds). State Formation and Urbanisation in the Ancient Sahara and Beyond. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press and The Society for Libyan Studies (2020).

Gatto, M., Mattingly, D.J., Ray, N. and Sterry, M. (eds). Burials, Migration and Identity in the Ancient Sahara and Beyond. Trans-Saharan Archaeology Volume 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press and The Society for Libyan Studies (2019).

Mattingly, D.J., Leitch, V., Duckworth, C.N., Cuenod, A., Sterry, M. and Cole, F. (eds) Trade in the Ancient Sahara and Beyond. Trans-Saharan Archaeology Volume 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press and The Society for Libyan Studies (2017).

Stone, D., Mattingly, D.J. and N. Ben Lazreg. Leptiminus (Lamta): a Roman Port City in Tunisia, Report no. 3, the Urban Survey. Portsmouth, RI,  JRA Suppl.

Mattingly, D.J. Imperialism, Power and Identity Experiencing the Roman Empire. Princeton University Press, 2011. (paperback edition 2014)

Barker, G., Gilbertson, D. and Mattingly, D.J.  Archaeology and Desertification: the Wadi Faynan Landscape Survey, southern Jordan. Oxbow, CBRL, Oxford (2007).

Mattingly, D.J. An Imperial Possession. Britain in the Roman Empire. Penguin History of Britain Series. London (2006). (Paperback edition 2007).

Mattingly, D.J., Daniels, C.M., Dore, J.N., Edwards, D. and Hawthorne, J.  The Archaeology of Fazzan.  Volume 1, Synthesis. London: Society for Libyan Studies (2003); Volume 2, Site Gazetteer, Pottery and Other Survey Finds (2007); Volume 3, Excavations carried out by C.M. Daniels (2010); Volume 4, Survey and Excavations at Old Jarma (Ancient Garama) carried out by C.M. Daniels (1962-69) and the Fazzān Project (1997-2001) (2013)

Mattingly, D.J. (edited). Dialogues in Roman Imperialism. Power, Discourse and Discrepant Experience in the Roman Empire (Journal of Roman Archaeology, Suppl. vol 23), Portsmouth, RI (1997). 

Barker, G.W.W., Gilbertson, D.D., Jones, G.D.B and Mattingly, D.J. eds). Farming the Desert The UNESCO Libyan Valleys Archaeological Survey. Volume 1, Synthesis. (principal editor, G. Barker), Volume 2, Gazetteer and Pottery (principal editor, D.J. Mattingly), UNESCO, Soc. for Libyan Studies, Paris/London (1996).

Mattingly, D.J. Tripolitania. Batsford, London (1995).


I have supervised (or co-supervised) 37 PhD students to successful completion and have 5 current campus-based PhD students. Topics supervised have been very wide-ranging thematically and geographically but with most focused on Roman archaeology of Britain North Africa Italy or Jordan.

I have successfully mentored 5 applications for M4C funding and have been part of the supervision teams generally spanning between M4C institutions for 7 projects so far.

I am happy to discuss potential PhD topics with prospective students on a wide range of themes in Roman archaeology.


I teach on a range of campus based and Distance Learning modules covering all levels of undergraduate and Masters courses and spanning archaeology and ancient history. I am currently most involved with delivery of a second year module AR2046 The Archaeology of the Roman Empire and a new third year module AH3085 Decolonising the Classics which will attempt a new approach to the study of Africa in the Roman Empire.

I hold a Senior Fellowship of the HEA.

Press and media

I have prior media experience involving topics related to Roman archaeology endangered archaeology imperialism and post-colonial/de-colonial debate.
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