Dr Timothy Penn

Academic Background

I became an archaeologist by accident; while studying for a first degree in Italian and Classics, I went on an excavation in Italy to improve my language skills, and enjoyed myself so much that it completely derailed my ambitions to become a professional translator. A decade or so on, I now have a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, and alongside my post at Oxford I also hold posts at Leicester and Edinburgh. I have contributed to fieldwork projects in Italy, the UK, Germany, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, and Iran.

Research Interests

My research focuses on using archaeology to tell us about the everyday lives of people across the ancient and early medieval worlds who are not well served by textual sources. My doctoral research examined funerary landscapes in Italy over the first seven centuries CE, and I am particularly interested in how ordinary people were mourned and commemorated in the past. As an active field archaeologist, primarily working on small finds, I have also become interested in the social significance of board games in ancient society.

I am currently a team member at Aphrodisias (2018, 2022-present), the Late Antique Jarash Project (2020-present), and the OCMA-IEASM underwater excavations in Egypt (2022-pres).

Research Keywords

Roman archaeology; late antique archaeology; material culture; board game studies


Full Publications:

Selected Publications:

T. Penn and L. Blanke (2022). ‘A new mould-blown flask with Christian symbols found at Jarash, Jordan.’ Journal of Glass Studies 64, 274–277.

T. Penn and S. Courts (2022). ‘Lost and found: the object biographies of Roman gaming sets from the Western Provinces.’ Pallas 119, 241–262.

F. Mowat and T. Penn (2022). ‘Glass.’ In E. Sauer et al., (ed.). Ancient Arms Race: Antiquity’s Largest Fortresses and Sasanian Military Networks of Northern Iran. Oxford: Oxbow, 577–589.

T. Penn (2022). ‘Beads.’ In E. Sauer et al., (ed.). Ancient Arms Race, 615–619.

T. Penn, B. Russell, and A. I. Wilson (2021). ‘On the Roman-Byzantine adoption of the stirrup once more: a new find from seventh-century Aphrodisias in Caria.’ Anatolian Studies 71, 129–139.

S. Courts and T. Penn (2019). ‘A corpus of gaming boards from Roman Britain.’ Lucerna 57, 4–12.

T. Penn (2018). ‘Glass from the Late Roman Villa at Masseria de Carolis, Pollena Trocchia,’ Rivista di Studi Pompeiani 29, 220–224.

L. K. Michelsen and T. Penn (2017). ‘Late Antique Glass from Qaratəpə (Bərdə Rayon), Azerbaijan,’ Journal of Glass Studies, Volume 59, 393–397.