Dr Steve Willis

Senior Lecturer in Archaeology

About

Dr Steve Willis has expertise in the Iron Age and Roman periods in Britain and Europe. His research interests cover settlement and society, material culture, landscape and environments, and phenomenology, as well as the archaeology of coasts and cultural expression in the Early Modern era. He has published widely on these topics. 

As an undergraduate, Steve worked as a volunteer with the Colchester Archaeological Trust. He was then employed by the Trust as a site archaeologist, working on excavations focused on the Roman fortress and city at Colchester. At Durham University he took an MA in Roman Archaeology and continued his studies at Durham, completing a PhD on pottery types and distributions of the later Iron Age and Early Roman era. Subsequently he became a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Archaeology. Steve moved to the University of Kent in 2004 and served a three-year term as Head of Department from 2005 to 2008 and will serve a further term as Head from September 2019. 

Research interests

Steve has received major funding grants from The British Academy and English Heritage. His recent research has won funding from The Roman Society and The Royal Archaeological Institute. He is an elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeology. 

An elected member of the Study Group for Roman Pottery, Steve served a term as President for three years and has latterly fulfilled the role of editor of the Study Group's Journal, now into its 18th volume. He has been a member of the Council of the Kent Archaeological Society and trustee since 2006 and, from 2013, he has taken on a role as trustee of The Trust for Thanet Archaeology. 

In the past ten years Steve has hosted and organised/co-organised over twenty conferences and gatherings examining aspects of the archaeology and history of Kent, held at the University's Canterbury campus. In September 2016 Steve co-directed excavations at the Roman villa site at Bourne Park, near Bridge, Canterbury. 

Steve has wide experience of archaeological survey and excavations having undertaken and led work in Britain and abroad. He has worked on long term fieldwork surveys in Portugal and France and excavated in Tongeren, on the remains of the Roman city. In Britain he has excavated at sites from Sussex to Scotland and, between his MA and PhD, worked for the Museum of London. 

His work has included studies and reports on Iron Age ceramics, Roman pottery, amphorae, samian ware and briquetage. A long-term research programme is exploring past settlement, economy and landscape use on the Lincolnshire Wolds through to the Viking period. In Kent, he is on the management team of the Lees Court Estate archaeological project of the Kent Archaeological Society examining a large area of the North Downs, rich in archaeological potential but hitherto little explored; the investigations have included student training in excavation and survey methods.

Steve has supervised a number of PhD candidates to successful completion in the last six years, on topics including: 

  • Artefact deposition at Roman Tienen (Belgium); the archaeology and phenomenology of water in the Roman world; rural settlement in Roman Kent;
  • Roman industries in Kent; oppida, focusing on the cases of Colchester/Camulodunum, Canterbury and The Titelberg; 
  • Investigative survey of the hillforts at Bigbury and Oldbury; 
  • The chronological sequence and material culture at the Roman shore fort at Oudenburg (Belgium). 

He is currently overseeing PhD studies focused on Roman Small Towns, and the pottery from the villa and settlement complex at Hoogeloon in the Netherlands.  

Teaching

Steve teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. These include Iron Age and Roman Britain and Europe and the archaeology of northern Europe. He also runs modules in fieldwork methods and practice. 

He has organised and run fieldwork skills training and instruction courses as part of his research programmes for a number of years and welcomes enquiries about postgraduate study and research from prospective students.

Publications

Showing 50 of 110 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.

Article

  • Willis, S. (2018). The search for the Roman hinterland of Evora: thirty years on. Northern Archaeology 23:97-106.
  • Bradley, R., Jackson, R. and Willis, S. (2017). Ludford, Lincolnshire: Small-scale investigations of a Roman Roadside Settlement. Lincolnshire History and Archaeology 49:23-36.
  • Willis, S. (2011). Samian Ware and Society in Roman Britain and Beyond. Britannia 42:167-242.
  • Willis, S. (2010). 'Samian Wares' in S. Palmer, 'Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon Sites Excavated on the Transco Churchover to Newbold Pacey Gas Pipeline in 1999'. Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society 113: Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon Sites Excavated on the Transco Churchover to Newbold Gas Pipeline in 1999 113:125-127.
  • Willis, S. (2010). Review Article: Roman Piercebridge. Archaeological Journal [Online] 167:228-233. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00665983.2010.11020798.

Book

  • Willis, S. (2013). The Roman Roadside Settlement and Multi-Period Ritual Complex at Nettleton and Rothwell, Lincolnshire. Pre-Construct Archaeology Limited and University of Kent.
  • Willis, S. and Carne, P. (2013). A Roman Villa at the Edge of Empire: Excavations at Ingleby Barwick, Stockton-on-Tees, 2003-2004. Willis, S. and Carne, P. eds. Council for British Archaeology.

Book section

  • Willis, S. (2018). 'Elective Affinity' and the Iron Fist of Imperialism: Responses in Britain to the advent of Rome. in: Fontes, L., Cruz, G. and Alves, M. eds. Cultural Interactions and Changing Landscapes in Europe (2nd century BC - 2nd century BC). Portugal: University of Minho, pp. 106-124.
  • Willis, S. (2016). The Briquetage Containers and Salt Networks in North-East England. in: Haselgrove, C. ed. Cartimandua's Capital? The late Iron Age Royal Site at Stanwick, North Yorkshire, Fieldwork and Analysis 1981-2011. Oxford, UK: Oxbow, pp. 256-261. Available at: http://www.oxbowbooks.com/oxbow/cartimandua-s-capital.html.
  • Willis, S. (2016). The Iron Age Tradition and Roman Pottery’. in: Haselgrove, C. ed. Cartimandua's Capital? The late Iron Age Royal Site at Stanwick, North Yorkshire, Fieldwork and Analysis 1981-2011. Oxford, UK: Oxbow, pp. 207-255. Available at: http://www.oxbowbooks.com/oxbow/cartimandua-s-capital.html.
  • Willis, S. (2015). The samian ware. in: Hughes, G. and Woodward, A. eds. The Iron Age and Romano-British Settlement at Crick Covert Farm: Excavations 1997-1998: DRIFT Volume 1. Oxford, UK: Archaeopress. Available at: http://www.archaeopress.com/Public/displayProductDetail.asp?id=%7BE0CD592E-CEE7-4CCE-BA95-224EB209CD9F%7D.
  • Willis, S. (2015). The samian ware (The Roadside Settlement at Bridge Farm and Grove Farm). in: Halkon, P., Millett, M. and Woodhouse, H. eds. Hayton, East Yorkshire: Archaeological Studies of the Iron Age and Roman Landscapes. Leeds: The Yorkshire Archaeological Society, pp. 129-135.
  • Willis, S. (2015). An Analysis of Some Aspects of the Samian pottery. in: Atkinson, M. and Preston, S. P. eds. Heybridge: A Late Iron Age and Roman Settlement, Excavations at Elms Farm 1993-5. Internet Archaeology. Available at: http://doi.org/10.11141/ia.40.1.willis.
  • Willis, S. (2015). Samian ware (The Burnby Lane Excavation). in: Halkon, P., Millett, M. and Woodhouse, H. eds. Hayton, East Yorkshire: Archaeological Studies of the Iron Age and Roman Landscapes. Leeds: The Yorkshire Archaeological Society, pp. 261-269.
  • Willis, S. (2013). Red from the Green Field: Samian Ware at Villas and Other Rural Sites in Roman Britain. An Examination of Site Evidence and General Trends. in: Fulford, M. G. and Durham, E. eds. Seeing Red: New Economic and Social Perspectives on Terra Sigillata. London: Institute of Classical Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, pp. 224-241.
  • Hill, J. and Willis, S. (2013). Middle Bronze Age to the End of the Pre-Roman Iron Age c 1500 BC to AD 50. in: Ransley, J. et al. eds. People and the Sea: A Maritime Archaeological Research Agenda for England. Council for British Archaeology Research, pp. 75-92.
  • Willis, S. (2013). Samian Pottery from the Wroxeter Pipeline (WST99). in: White, R., Gaffney, C. and Gaffney, V. L. eds. Wroxeter, The Cornovii and the Urban Process, Final Report on the Wroxeter Hinterland Project 1994-7, Volume 2. Characterizing the City. Oxford: Archaeopress, pp. 59-65.
  • Willis, S. (2013). Contributions to the report on the pottery. in: Hodgson, N., McKelvey, J. and Muncaster, W. eds. The Iron Age on the Northumberland Coastal Plain. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Tyne and Wear Museums.
  • Willis, S. (2012). 'The Iron Age and Roman Pottery', plus Appendices covering concordance, illustrations and samian catalogues. in: Jackson, R. ed. Ariconium, Herefordshire, an Iron Age Settlement and Romano-British Small Town. Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. 41-110 & 236-44. Available at: http://www.oxbowbooks.com/oxbow/ariconium-herefordshire.html.
  • Willis, S. (2012). ‘Samian ware’ and ‘Samian ware catalogue and tables’. in: Proctor, J. ed. Faverdale, Darlington: Excavations at a Major Settlement in the Northern Frontier Zone of Roman Britain. Pre-Construct Archaeology, pp. 89-100 & 182-94. Available at: http://www.pre-construct.com/Publications/Faverdale.htm.
  • Willis, S. et al. (2012). Research Framework for Samian Ware. in: Willis, S. ed. Journal of Roman Pottery Studies No. 15. Oxford: Oxbow, pp. 248-255. Available at: http://www.oxbowbooks.com/oxbow/journal-of-roman-pottery-studies-volume-15.html.
  • Willis, S. (2012). The samian ware. in: Cuttler, R., Davidson, A. and Hughes, G. eds. A Corridor Through Time: The archaeology of the A55 Anglesey Road Scheme. Oxford, UK: Oxbow books.
  • Willis, S. (2011). St Martin’s Gate: The Samian. in: Butler, S. and Cuttler, R. eds. Life and Industry in the Suburbs of Roman Worcester. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports British Series 533, p. .
  • Willis, S. (2011). Samian Wares. in: Jones, A. ed. Roman Birmingham 3: Excavations at Metchley Roman fort 1999-2001 and 2004-2005. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports British Series 534, pp. 66-70.
  • Willis, S. (2011). Chapter 17. Finds Reports, Section 7. Discussions: Samian. in: Medlycott, M. ed. The Roman Town of Great Chesterford. Essex County Council, Learning Services, pp. 308-320.
  • Willis, S. (2010). ‘Terra Nigra’ and ‘A Probable Briquetage (Salt Container) Vessel’. in: Ferris, I. ed. The Beautiful Rooms are Empty: Excavations at Binchester Roman Fort, County Durham 1976-1981 and 1986-1991. Durham: Durham County Council, pp. 136-138 & 218.
  • Willis, S. (2009). Roman Pottery. in: Haselgrove, C. C. ed. The Traprain Law Environs Project: Fieldwork and Excavations 2000-2004. The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, p. .
  • Willis, S. (2009). Samian (Terra Sigillata) and the Stanegate-Hadrian's Wall corridor: An Assessment. in: Symonds, M. F. A. and Mason, D. J. P. eds. Frontiers of Knowledge. A Research Framework for Hadrian's Wall (World Heritage Site). Vol. 1. Resource Assessment. Durham: English Heritage, Durham County Council and Durham University, pp. 125-127.
  • Willis, S. (2009). 'Pottery', 'Briquetage', and (with P. Clogg and R. Mackenzie) 'Residues from Activities involving Heat'. in: Proctor, J. ed. Pegswood Moor, Morpeth: A Later Iron Age and Romano-British Farmstead Settlement. Pre-Construct Archaeology, pp. 43-51, 51-2 and 52-3.
  • Willis, S. (2009). 'Samian ware' (Birdoswald Fort, Field Centre site), 'Samian ware' (Birdoswald Fort Spur site), 'Samian ware' (Birdoswald western extra-mural Settlement and Cemetery), 'Samian from Turrets T49b, T50a and T50b and Milecastle Mc50' and 'Samian catalogue'. in: Wilmott, T. ed. Hadrian's Wall: Archaeological Research by English Heritage 1976-2000. English Heritage, pp. 299-307, 333.
  • Willis, S. (2008). Samian Pottery. in: Jones, A. et al. eds. A Romano-British Livestock Complex in Birmingham: Excavations, 2002-2004 and 2006-2007 at Longdales Road, King's Norton, Birmingham. British Archaeological Reports British Series, pp. 36-37.

Edited book

  • Willis, S. ed. (2015). Journal of Roman Pottery Studies. Oxford, UK: Oxbow books.
  • Willis, S. ed. (2012). Journal of Roman Pottery Studies, Vol. 15. [Online]. Oxford, UK: Oxbow. Available at: http://www.oxbowbooks.com/oxbow/journal-of-roman-pottery-studies-volume-15.html.
  • Willis, S. and Irving, P. eds. (2009). Journal of Roman Pottery Studies, Vol. 14. Oxford, UK: Oxbow.

Edited journal

  • Willis, S. ed. (2018). Journal of Roman Pottery Studies Vol. 17. Journal of Roman Pottery Studies 17:i-121.

Review

  • Willis, S. (2017). C. Carreras & J. van den Berg (ed.). Amphorae from the Kops Plateau (Nijmegen) (Archaeopress Roman Archaeology 20). Antiquity [Online] 91:1672-1674. Available at: https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2017.200.
  • Willis, S. (2016). Review Article: Follow the money. From rescuing the Roman city to a new kind of urban archaeology. Archaeolgical Journal [Online] 173:342-352. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00665983.2016.1185243.
  • Willis, S. (2015). Review of Roman and Medieval Development South of Cheapside. Excavations at Bow Bells House, City of London, 2005-6 (Museum of London Archaeology Series 26). Journal of Roman Pottery Studies 16:187-189.
  • Willis, S. (2015). Review of Roman Yorkshire: People, culture and landscape. Archaeological Journal [Online] 172:465-466. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00665983.2015.1040686.
  • Willis, S. (2013). Pottery Imports to Britain from Empire and Continent before the Claudian Conquest. :173-178.
  • Willis, S. (2012). Review of 'The Roman Roadside Settlement at Westhawk Farm, Ashford, Kent, Excavations 1998-9'. Britannia 43:433-434.
  • Willis, S. (2012). Review of 'Hoards, Hounds and Helmets. A Conquest-period Ritual Site at Hallaton, Leicestershire'. Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society:198-201.
  • Willis, S. (2011). Review of 'Two Iron Age ‘Aggregated’ Settlements in the Environs of Leicester: Excavations at Beaumont Leys and Humberstone'. Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society 85:195-197.
  • Willis, S. (2009). Review of 'An Atlas of Roman Rural Settlement in England'. Britannia [Online] 40:393-394. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3815/006811309789785945.
  • Willis, S. (2009). Review of 'The Isle of Thanet: from Prehistory to the Norman Conquest'. Archaeologia Cantiana [Online] 129:401-404. Available at: http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Pub/ArchCant/129-2009/129-20.pdf.
  • Willis, S. (2008). Review of 'An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire'. American Journal of Archaeology [Online] 112:online. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3764/ajaonline1124.Willis.

Forthcoming

  • Willis, S. (2018). Excavation and Survey in the Waithe Valley. The Central Lincolnshire Wolds Research Project Volume 2. London. UK: PCA Ltd.
  • Willis, S. ed. (2018). Journal of Roman Pottery Studies. Oxford, UK: Oxbow.
  • Willis, S. (2018). The Echo of Past Choices. The Roman dining table under 21st century scrutiny. Discussion of the papers contributed to this volume. in: Pitts, M. and Allison, P. eds. Big Data on the Roman Table: Papers from the two workshops held at the University of Leicester and University of Exeter for this research network, 2015-2016. Internet Archaeology.
  • Willis, S. (2012). Excavation and Fieldwork in ‘Street Furlongs’, Mount Pleasant, Rothwell Parish, Lincolnshire. Interim Report, submitted to Lincolnshire County Council. University of Kent and The North-East Lincolnshire Archaeology and Local History Society.
Last updated