Portrait of Dr Luke Lavan

Dr Luke Lavan

Lecturer in Archaeology

About

Dr Luke Lavan was educated at the universities of Durham, Oxford and Nottingham. He joined the University of Kent as a Lecturer in Archaeology in 2007 from the Katholieke University Leuven (Belgium), where he had worked as a Post- Doctoral Fellow on the Sagalassos Project (in modern Turkey). Before that he was Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Humboldt Foundation, University of Cologne, the British Institute of Archaeology in Ankara, and the Collège de France in Paris. 

Research interests

Luke is the series editor of Late Antique Archaeology and is director of the Centre for Late Antique Archaeology.  

He is particularly interested in the everyday use of space in the Late Antique and Early Medieval city (AD 300-700), drawing on archaeological, textual and epigraphic evidence from across the Roman Empire. Luke is currently responsible for field archaeology instruction, and was co-director of the Kent-Berlin Ostia Project.

Teaching

Luke teaches modules on archaeology and late antiquity.

Publications

Article

  • Lavan, L. (2013). Local Economies in Late Antiquity? Some thoughts. Late Antique Archaeology [Online] 10:1-11. Available at: http://doi.org/10.1163/22134522-12340045.
  • Lavan, L. (2012). Field Methods and Post Excavation Techniques in Late Antique Archaeology: Anyone for Discussion? Late Antique Archaeology [Online] 9:1-13. Available at: http://doi.org/10.1163/22134522-12340003.
  • Lavan, L. (2012). The Agorai of Sagalassos in Late Antiquity: An Interpretive Study. Late Antique Archaeology [Online] 9:289-353. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/22134522-12340012.
    This article investigates the history of the agorai and minor plazas, excavated at Sagalassos in SW Turkey, during late antiquity (A.D. 283 to ca. 650). It presents new field observations made by the author, based on a survey of stone surface markings, epigraphic context, and spoliation history, and offers an interpretive study of these spaces in terms of their function during the 4th–7th centuries A.D. An assessment of the significance of these observations for the nature of urban government in this period is also offered.
  • Lavan, L. (2012). Public Space in Late Antique Ostia: Excavation and Survey by the University of Kent 2008-2011. American Journal of Archaeology [Online] 116:649-691. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3764/aja.116.4.0649.
    This article presents the work of the University of Kent section of the Late Antique Ostia Project, which since 2008 has studied the evolution of public space in the central area of the city, in conjunction with the Humboldt University of Berlin. This research has sought to detect and document Late Antique remains within a clearance-excavated classical site using minimally invasive methods. It has demonstrated that Ostia saw a level of investment in secular public buildings that surpassed other cities in Italy outside of Rome. Thus, Russell Meiggs' view that the construction of Portus led to the demise of Ostia, in terms of its political and economic vitality, now seems unlikely. Until the mid fifth century, Ostia was still significant as a center of political representation that followed the urban fashions of the age, which now came from the eastern Mediterranean rather than from Rome. English summaries of the work of the Berlin team are provided by its director, Axel Gering; that work is published in greater detail in a parallel report in Römische Mitteilungen.
  • Lavan, L. (2012). Distinctive Field Methods for Late Antiquity: Some Suggestions. Late Antique Archaeology [Online] 9:51-90. Available at: http://doi.org/10.1163/22134522-12340005.
    Abstract
    Our understanding of late antique archaeology has now reached a point where it is possible to suggest specific field methods better adapted to the material evidence and historical problems of the period, at least for urban archaeology. We need to be more sensitive to patterns of evidential survival that are particular to this era, and especially to engage with the evidential traces provided by patterns of reuse, and by the slight relaxation of civic rules seen in the period. If we focus on stone surface archaeology, study spolia contexts, behavioural epigraphy, small-scale repairs and decorative traces, then we can obtain a great deal of information from poorly excavated sites which were previously considered archaeologically barren. This may, perhaps, reveal the futility of clearance archaeology, which is still being practised on some eastern sites.
  • Lavan, L. (2004). Agorai in Turkey and Greece during Late Antiquity. Anatolian Archaeology 9:31-32.
  • Lavan, L. (2001). The Praetoria of Civil Governors in Late Antiquity. Journal of Roman Archaeology [Online] 42:39-56. Available at: http://www.journalofromanarch.com/supplements/S42.pdf.
  • Lavan, L. (2001). Late Antique Urbanism: A Bibliographic Essay. Journal of Roman Archaeology [Online] 24:9-26. Available at: http://www.journalofromanarch.com/supplements/S42.pdf.
  • Lavan, L. (1999). Residences of Late Antique Governors: A Gazetteer. Antiquité Tardive [Online] 7:135-164. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1484/J.AT.2.300808.
    Ce catalogue commenté des bâtiments qu’on a proposé d’interpréter comme palais de gouverneur tardifs cherche à faire le tri entre résidences probables, possibles (selon divers degrés de vraisemblance), peu probables ou improbables. L’auteur ne retient comme probables que Cologne, Aquincum, Gortyne et Ptolémaïs, praetoria auxquels il associe, par ressemblance, le palais du dux à Doura Europos. Parmi les possibles (sans qu’on ait vraiment les moyens de trancher) figurent Circencester, Gorsium, Césarée (où deux sites sont candidats) et Carthage. Peu probables ou improbables lui paraissent, en revanche, les hypothèses avancées pour Cordoue (Cercadilla), Caric±in Grad, Serdica, Sardes, Éphèse, Aphrodisias et Apamée. Dans bien des cas, il s’agit tout au plus de luxueuses domus privées. En appendice sont rappelés les monuments pour lesquels l’identification anciennement proposée comme palais de gouverneur a été définitivement écartée. [J.-M. C.]

Book section

  • Lavan, L. (2018). Chronology in Late Antiquity: A lesson from the Palaestra. in: Laubry, N., Zevi, F. and Cébeillac-Gervasoni, M. eds. Terzo Seminario Ostiense. Rome: Ecole Francaise de Rome. Available at: https://books.openedition.org/efr/3814.
    This article deals with the fundamental problem of working in Ostia : how to devise a respectable chronology for a city that was mostly cleared of soil in a few years, with the aid of railways and poor families, for the World Exhibition of 1942. In the absence of photographs and serious notes, we have little to fall back on. I offer a field methodology against despair, applied to the difficult case of the Palaestra. What we need to do is clean up large areas, establish phases between them, and undertake selective excavation of pottery-rich rubbish deposits. From the resultant Harris Matrix, a more nuanced history of Ostia can emerge, of late antique centuries, extending far beyond the « Hadrianic » fantasy of Mussolini. The scale of this exercise makes it possible to assess the reliability and relative utility of different dating methods. Most early methods now fail, but others remain. It seems that future chronology will depend on an uncomfortable cohabitation of old and new.
  • Hori, Y. and Lavan, L. (2015). The Potential of Laser Scanning for the Study of Roman Buildings. in: Lavan, L. A. and Mulryan, M. eds. Field Methods and Post-Excavation Techniques in Late Antique Archaeology. Leiden: Brill, pp. 595-660. Available at: http://www.brill.com/products/book/field-methods-and-post-excavation-techniques-late-antique-archaeology.
  • Lavan, L. (2012). Fora and Agorai in Mediterranean Cities: Fourth and Fifth centuries AD. in: Bowden, W., Gutteridge, A. and Machado, C. eds. Social and Political Life in Late Antiquity (Late Antique Archaeology 3.1). Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, pp. 195-249.
  • Lavan, L. (2012). From Polis to Emporion? Retail and Regulation in the Late Antique City. in: Trade and Markets in Byzantium. Washington D. C.: Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Symposia and Colloquia, pp. 333-377.
  • Lavan, L. (2011). Political Talismans? Residual 'Pagan' Statues in Late Antique Public Space. in: Lavan, L. A. and Mulryan, M. eds. The Archaeology of Late Antique 'Paganism'. Leiden: Brill, pp. 439-478. Available at: http://www.brill.com/archaeology-late-antique-paganism.
  • Lavan, L. (2011). The End of the Temples: Towards a New Narrative. in: Lavan, L. A. and Mulryan, M. eds. The Archaeology of Late Antique 'Paganism. Leiden: Brill, p. xv-ixv. Available at: http://www.brill.com/archaeology-late-antique-paganism.
  • Lavan, L. (2008). The Monumental Streets of Sagalassos in Late Antiquity: An Interpretative Study. in: Ballet, P., Dieudonné-Glad, N. and Saliou, C. eds. La rue dans l'Antiquité. Presses Universitaires de Rennes, pp. 201-214.
  • Lavan, L., Swift, E. and Putzeys, T. (2008). Material Spatiality in Late Antiquity: Sources, Approaches, and Field Methods. in: Lavan, L. A., Swift, E. V. and Putzeys, T. eds. Objects in Context, Objects in Use: Material Spatiality in Late Antiquity (Late Antique Archaeology 5). Leiden: Brill, pp. 1-44.
    This introduction to the volume discusses sources for the reconstruction of material spatiality, problems with the evidence, potential approaches to interpretation, and methodologies of field archaeology in relation to the recovery of the high quality evidence necessary for spatial approaches to the material.
  • Lavan, L. (2008). Social Space in Late Antiquity. in: Lavan, L. A., Swift, E. V. and Putzeys, T. eds. Objects in Context, Objects in Use: Material Spatiality in Late Antiquity (Late Antique Archaeology 5). Leiden: Brill, pp. 129-157.
  • Putzeys, T. and Lavan, L. (2008). Commercial Space in Late Antiquity. in: Lavan, L. A., Swift, E. V. and Putzeys, T. eds. Objects in Context, Objects in Use: Material Spatiality in Late Antiquity (Late Antique Archaeology 5). Leiden: Brill, pp. 81-109.
  • Lavan, L. (2008). Political Space in Late Antiquity. in: Lavan, L. A., Swift, E. V. and Putzeys, T. eds. Objects in Context, Objects in Use: Material Spatiality in Late Antiquity (Late Archaeology 5). Leiden: Brill, pp. 111-128.
  • Lavan, L. (2008). Religious Space in Late Antiquity. in: Lavan, L. A., Swift, E. V. and Putzeys, T. eds. Objects in Context, Objects in Use: Material Spatiality in Late Antiquity (Late Antique Archaeology 5). Leiden: Brill, pp. 159-201.
  • Lavan, L. (2008). Explaining Technological Change: Innovation, Stagnation, Recession and Replacement. in: Lavan, L. A., Zanini, E. and Sarantis, A. eds. Technology in Transition A.D. 300-650 (Late Antique Archaeology 4). Leiden: Brill, p. xv-xl.
  • Lavan, L. (2008). A. H. M. Jones and "The Cities" 1964-2004. in: Gwynn, D. M. ed. A.H.M. Jones and the Later Roman Empire. Leiden: Brill, pp. 167-192.
  • Lavan, L. (2007). The Agorai of Antioch and Constantinople as seen by John Chrysostom. in: Drinkwater, J. and Salway, B. eds. Wolf Liebeschuetz Reflected. London: University of London, Institute of Classical Studies, pp. 157-167.
  • Lavan, L. (2006). Political Life in Late Antiquity: A Bibliographic Essay. in: Bowden, W., Gutteridge, A. and Machado, C. eds. Social and Political Life in Late Antiquity (Late Antique Archaeology 3.1). Leiden: Brill, pp. 1-40.
  • Bowden, W. and Lavan, L. (2004). The Late Antique Countryside: An Introduction. in: Bowden, W., Lavan, L. A. and Machado, C. eds. Recent Research on the Late Antique Countryside (Late Antique Archeaology 2). Leiden: Brill, p. xvii-xxvi.
    This book surveys a variety of themes relating to the late antique countryside. It covers social and economic life, the archaeology of pilgrimage and the fate of rural temples, villas, monasteries and landscape change. There is a special section on rural survey in Turkey, a region of the Roman empire for which our knowledge of the countryside is poor. A bibliographic essay, on the rural archaeology of the entire empire, provides an excellent introduction to the volume and to the subject as a whole. Essays range from Northern Gaul to Egypt and draw on many sources: from papyrology and epigraphy to field survey and paleobotany. A complex picture of differing regional trajectories emerges, whilst cultural change is everywhere apparent, in phenomena such as Christianisation, settlement nucleation and fortification. Contributors include Beat Brenk, Beatrice Caseau, Douglas Baird, Archie Dunn, Etienne Louis, Fabio Saggioro, John Mitchell, Joseph Patrich, Lynda Mulvin, Carla Sfameni, Marcus Rautman, Peter Sarris, Frank Trombley, Joanita Vroom and Marc Waelkens.
  • Lavan, L. (2003). Late Antique Archaeology: An Introduction. in: Lavan, L. A. and Bowden, W. eds. Theory and Practice in Late Antique Archaeology (Late Antique Archaeology 1). Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, p. vii-xvi.
  • Lavan, L. (2003). Late Antique Urban Topography: From Architecture to Human Space. in: Lavan, L. A. and Bowden, W. eds. Theory and Practice in Late Antique Archaeology (Late Antique Archaeology 1). Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, pp. 171-195.
  • Lavan, L. (2003). The Political Topography of the Late Antique City: Activity Spaces in Practice. in: Lavan, L. A. and Bowden, W. eds. Theory and Practice in Late Antique Archaeology (Late Antique Archaeology 1). Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, pp. 314-340.

Edited book

  • Lavan, L.A. and Mulryan, M. eds. (2015). Field methods and post-excavation techniques in late antique archaeology. [Online]. Leiden: Brill. Available at: http://www.brill.com/products/book/field-methods-and-post-excavation-techniques-late-antique-archaeology.
  • Lavan, L.A. ed. (2015). Local Economies? Production and Exchange of Inland Regions in Late Antiquity. [Online]. Leiden: Brill. Available at: http://www.brill.com/products/book/local-economies.
    The Roman economy was operated significantly above subsistence level, with production being stimulated by both taxation and trade. Some regions became wealthy on the basis of exporting low-value agricultural products across the Mediterranean. In contrast, it has usually been assumed that the high costs of land transport kept inland regions relatively poor. This volume challenges these assumptions by presenting new research on production and exchange within inland regions. The papers, supported by detailed bibliographic essays, range from Britain to Jordan. They reveal robust agricultural economies in many interior regions. Here, some wealth did come from high value products, which could defy transport costs. However, ceramics also indicate local exchange systems, capable of generating wealth without being integrated into inter-regional trading networks. The role of the State in generating production and exchange is visible, but often co-existed with local market systems.
  • Lavan, L.A. and Mulryan, M. eds. (2011). The Archaeology of Late Antique ‘Paganism' (Late Antique Archaeology 7). [Online]. Leiden: Brill. Available at: http://www.brill.com/archaeology-late-antique-paganism.
  • Lavan, L.A., Swift, E.V. and Putzeys, T. eds. (2008). Objects in Context, Objects in Use: Material Spatiality in Late Antiquity (Late Antique Archaeology 5). [Online]. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. Available at: http://www.brill.com/objects-context-objects-use.
  • Lavan, L.A., Zanini, E. and Sarantis, A. eds. (2008). Technology in Transition AD 300-650 (Late Antique Archaeology 4). [Online]. Leiden: Brill. Available at: http://www.brill.com/technology-transition-ad-300-650.
  • Lavan, L.A., Özgenel, L. and Sarantis, S. eds. (2007). Housing in Late Antiquity: from Palaces to Shops (Late Antique Archaeology 3.2). [Online]. Leiden: Brill. Available at: http://www.brill.com/housing-late-antiquity-volume-32.
  • Bowden, W., Lavan, L.A. and Machado, C. eds. (2004). Recent Research on the Late Antique Countryside (Late Antique Archaeology 2). [Online]. Leiden: Brill. Available at: http://www.brill.com/recent-research-late-antique-countryside.
    This book surveys a variety of themes relating to the late antique countryside. It covers social and economic life, the archaeology of pilgrimage and the fate of rural temples, villas, monasteries and landscape change. There is a special section on rural survey in Turkey, a region of the Roman empire for which our knowledge of the countryside is poor. A bibliographic essay, on the rural archaeology of the entire empire, provides an excellent introduction to the volume and to the subject as a whole. Essays range from Northern Gaul to Egypt and draw on many sources: from papyrology and epigraphy to field survey and paleobotany. A complex picture of differing regional trajectories emerges, whilst cultural change is everywhere apparent, in phenomena such as Christianisation, settlement nucleation and fortification
  • Lavan, L.A. and Bowden, W. eds. (2003). Theory and Practice in Late Antique Archaeology (Antique Archaeology 1). [Online]. Leiden: Brill. Available at: http://www.brill.com/theory-and-practice-late-antique-archaeology.
  • Lavan, L.A. ed. (2001). Recent Research in Late Antique Urbanism (Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series 42). Portsmouth, Rhode Island: Journal of Roman Archaeology.

Review

  • Lavan, L. (2009). What killed the Ancient City? Chronology, Causation, and Traces of Continuity. Journal of Roman Archaeology [Online] 22:803-812. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1047759400021528.
  • Lavan, L. (2003). Christianity, the City and the End of Antiquity. Journal of Roman Archaeology 2003:705-710.
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