Classical & Archaeological Studies


profile image for Professor Ray Laurence

Professor Ray Laurence

Professor of Roman History and Archaeology


Office: Cornwallis North West 160


Ray Laurence joined Kent in 2010. He is a specialist in Roman History. He set up the first Kent programmes in Rome – Ancient History and Roman History & Archaeology. Having studied in Rome during his work for his PhD, he devised new programmes that utilised the possibilities of on-site study in Rome. His research has spanned a number of major topics: Pompeii, roads and communications, the Roman city in the west, as well as the study of Roman conceptions of aging and age-related behaviours. He currently has a fieldwork project in Rome to identify the geological source of paving stones found in Trajan’s markets. In addition, he is embarking on a new research project to investigate urban space in ancient Rome. Students on the programmes in Rome will regularly engage with Ray’s research projects past and present that to date have included the publication of 16 books. Since joining Kent, he has been Head of Classical and Archaeological Studies and is currently Faculty Director of Research and Enterprise. Previously he worked at the Universities of Birmingham and Reading.

Engagement with the wider public through the media

Ray has been directly involved in the development of scripts for TV docu-dramas. He worked with the TV production company Shine to develop two programmes in the innovative SkyOne series When in Rome. The brief Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels meets Rome produced the first TV programme on Augustan Rome with an edge to it. With Alex Butterworth, he worked as a consultant on The Private Lives of Pompeii, made by Illuminations TV - a collaboration that was extended to produce the book Pompeii: The Living City, which won the Longman History Today New Generation prize for the book most likely to inspire young adults to study history. Ray is also an author of popular books, most recently The Travellers Guide to the Ancient World: Rome and Its Environs (The Roman Empire) and articles in magazines such as History Today, BBC History, Ad Familiares and Omnibus.

Ray was awarded the 2015 Faculty of Humanities Teaching Prize. You can see one of his lectures, ‘The Roman Empire: Migration & Mobility’, on YouTube  or listen to ‘The Old Roman Emperor – Augustus’ Empire without End (AD 4-14)’  He also has a blog called ‘Lucius Romans’ aimed at students developing interests in Roman History, including animated films and key evidence from antiquity for how we know about life 2000 years ago


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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Laurence, R. (2012). Roman Archaeology for Historians. Routledge.
Laurence, R. (2011). The Roads of Roman Italy: Mobility and Cultural Change. [Online]. London: Routledge. Available at:
Laurence, R., Esmonde Cleary, S. and Sears, G. (2011). The City in the Roman West c. 250 BC-c. AD 250. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Laurence, R. (2010). Roman Passions: A History of Pleasure in Imperial Rome. New York: Continuum.
Laurence, R. (2008). Rome in the Year 300 CE. London, UK: David & Charles.
Laurence, R. (2006). Roman Pompeii: Space and Society. [Online]. London, UK: Routledge. Available at:
Laurence, R. and Butterworth, A. (2005). Pompeii: The Living City. London, UK: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
Laurence, R. and Harlow, M. (2001). Growing Up and Growing Old in Ancient Rome: A Life Course Approach. London: Routledge.
Laurence, R. (1994). Roman Pompeii: Space and Society . London, UK: Routledge.
Edited book
Sears, G., Keegan, P. and Laurence, R. eds. (2013). Written Space in the Latin West, 200 BC to AD 300. [Online]. London, UK: Bloomsbury. Available at:
Strömberg, A. and Laurence, R. eds. (2012). Families in the Greco-Roman World. London, UK: Continuum International.
Laurence, R. (2012). A Cultural History of Childhood and Family in Antiquity. [Online]. Harlow, M. and Laurence, R. eds. Berg. Available at:
Laurence, R. and Newsome, D.J. eds. (2011). Rome, Ostia, Pompeii: Movement and Space. Oxford University Press.
Laurence, R. and Adams, C. eds. (2011). Travel and Geography in the Roman Empire. London: Routledge.
Laurence, R. and Harlow, M. eds. (2010). The Cultural History of Childhood and the Family Volume 1: Antiquity. Oxford: Berg.
Laurence, R. and Harlow, M. eds. (2007). Age and Ageing in the Roman Empire. Portsmouth, Rhode Island: Journal of Roman Archeaology.
Laurence, R. and Berry, J. eds. (2001). Cultural Identity in the Roman Empire. [Online]. London: Routledge. Available at:
Laurence, R. and Wallace-Hadrill, A. eds. (1997). Domestic Space in the Roman World: Pompeii and Beyond. Journal of Roman Archaeology.
Laurence, R. (2017). Augustus Senex: Old Age and the Remaking of the Prinipate. Greece and Rome.
Laurence, R. (2017). Augustus Senex: Old Age and the Remaking of the Principate. Greece and Rome.
Laurence, R. (2017). Geochemical Methods for Sourcing Lava Paving Stones from the Roman roads of Central Italy. Archaeometry.
Laurence, R. (2014). Turismo e Romanità: uma nova visão de Pompeia (1924-1942): [Translation of: Tourism and Romanità: A new vision of Pompeii (1924-1942)]. História Questões & Debates [Online] 60:255-278. Available at:
Laurence, R. and Harlow, M. (2010). De Amicitia: The Role of Age. Acta Instituti Romani Finlandiae 36:21-32.
Laurence, R. (2006). Tourism and Romanità: a New Vision of Pompeii (1924-1942). Ancient History: Resources for Teachers 35:90-110.
Laurence, R. (2001). Roman Narratives: The Writing of Archeaological Discourse - A View from Britain? Archaeological Dialogues [Online] 8:90-101. Available at:
Carl, P. et al. (2000). Were Cities Built as Images? Cambridge Archaeological Journal [Online] 10:327-365. Available at:
Laurence, R. (2000). Metaphors, Monuments and Texts: The Life Course in Roman culture. World Archaeology [Online] 31:442-455. Available at:
Laurence, R. and Paterson, J. (1999). Power and Laughter: Imperial Dicta. Papers of the British School of Rome 67:183-197.
Laurence, R. (1994). Rumour and Communication in Roman Politics. Greece and Rome [Online] 41:62-74. Available at:
Laurence, R. (1994). Modern Ideology and the Creation of Ancient Town Planning. European Review of History: Revue européenne d'histoire [Online] 1:9-18. Available at:
Book section
Laurence, R. (2016). Ancient Rome: Mobility in Europe's First Metropolis. in: Griffiths, S. and von Lunen, A. eds. Spactial Cultures: Towards a New Social Morphology of Cities Past and Present. UK: Routledge, pp. 3-14. Available at:
Laurence, R. (2016). Pompeii and the Ager Pompeianus. in: Cooley, A. E. ed. A Companion to Roman Italy. Wiley Blackwell, pp. 401-416. Available at:
Laurence, R. (2016). Children and the Urban Environment: Agency in Pompeii. in: Vuolanto, V. and Laes, C. eds. Children and Everyday Life on the Roman and Late Antique World. London: Routledge, pp. 27-42.
Laurence, R. and Harlow, M. (2015). Age, Agency and Disability: Suetonius and the Emperors of the First Century C.E. in: Krötzl, C., Mustakallio, K. and Kuuliala, J. eds. Infirmity in Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Social and Cultural Approaches to Health, Weakness and Care. Abingdon, Oxon: Ashgate Publishing, pp. 15-28. Available at:
Laurence, R. (2015). Towards a History of Mobility in Ancient Rome (300 BCE to 100 CE). in: Östenberg, I., Malmberg, S. and Bjørnebye, J. eds. The Moving City Processions, Passages and Promenades in Ancient Rome. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 302-307. Available at:
Laurence, R. and Trifilò, F. (2014). The Global and the Local in the Roman Empire: Connectivity and Mobility from an Urban Perspective. in: Pitts, M. and Versulys, J. eds. Globalisation and the Roman World. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 99-122.
Laurence, R. (2013). Traffic and Land Transportation in and near Rome. in: Erdkamp, P. ed. The Cambridge Companion to Ancient rome. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 246-261.
Laurence, R. (2013). Planning and Environment. in: Clark, P. ed. The Oxford Handbook of Cities in World History. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 197-212. Available at:
Laurence, R. (2013). Roads and Bridges. in: DeRose Evans, J. ed. A Companion to the Archaeology of the Roman Republic. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 296-308. Available at:
Laurence, R. (2012). Investigating the Emperor's Toga: Privileging Images on Roman Coins. in: Harlow, M. ed. Dress and Identity. Oxford, UK: Archaeopress, pp. 71-84. Available at:
Laurence, R. and Harlow, M. (2011). Viewing the Old: Recording and Respecting the Elderly at Rome and in the Empire. in: Krötzl, C. and Mustakallio, K. eds. On Old Age. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, pp. 3-24. Available at:
Laurence, R. and Harlow, M. (2010). Betrothal, Middle Childhood and the Life Course. in: Larsson Lovén, L. and Strömberg, A. eds. Ancient Marriage in Myth and Reality. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 56-77.
Black, S., Browning, J. and Laurence, R. (2008). From Quarry to Road: The Supply of Basalt for Road Paving in the Tiber Valley. in: Coarelli, F. and Patterson, H. eds. Mercator placidissimus. The Tiber Valley in Antiquity . Rome, Italy: Quasar, pp. 705-730.
Laurence, R. and Harlow, M. (2008). The Representation of Age in the Roman Empire: Towards a Life Course Approach. in: Funari, P. P., Garraffoni, R. S. and Letalien, B. eds. New Perspectives on the Ancient World. Oxford, UK: Archaeopress, pp. 205-221.
Laurence, R. (2008). City Traffic and the Archaeology of Roman Streets from Pompeii to Rome. The Nature of Traffic in the Ancient City. in: Mertens, D. ed. Palilia 18, Stadtverkehr in der antiken Welt : Internationales Kolloquium zur 175-Jahrfeier des Deutschen Archaologischen Instituts Rom. Rome, Italy: Ludwig Reichert, pp. 87-106. Available at:
Laurence, R., Harlow, M. and Vuolanto, V. (2007). Past, Present and Future in the Study of Roman Childhood. in: Crawford, S. and Shepherd, G. eds. Children, Childhood and Society : Studies in Archaeology, History, Literature and Art, Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity, Univers 1 . Oxford, UK: Archaeopress, pp. 5-14.
Laurence, R. (2005). Health and the Life Course at Herculaneum and Pompeii. in: King, H. ed. Health in Antiquity. London: Routledge, pp. 83-96.
Laurence, R. (2004). Milestones, Communication and Political Stability. in: Ellis, L. and Kidner, F. L. eds. Travel, Communication and Geography in Late Antiquityy: Sacred and Profane. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, pp. 38-49.
Laurence, R. (2004). The Uneasy Dialogue between Ancient History and Archaeology. in: Sauer, E. W. ed. Archaeology and Ancient History: Breaking down the Boundaries. London: Routledge, pp. 99-113.
Laurence, R. (2004). The Economic Exploitation of Geological Resources in the Tiber Valley: Road Building. in: Patterson, H. ed. Bridging the Tiber: Approaches to Regional Archaeology in the Middle Tiber Valley . London: British School at Rome, pp. 285-296.
Laurence, R. (2001). The Roman Urban Revolution. in: Lo Cascio, E. and Storchi Marino, A. eds. Modalità insediative e strutture agrarie nell'Italia meridonale in età romana. Bari, Italy: Edipuglia, pp. 591-609.
Laurence, R. (1999). Tourism, Town Planning and Romanitas: Rimini's Roman Heritage. in: Biddiss, M. D. and Wyke, M. eds. Uses and Abuses of Antiquity. London: Peter Lang, pp. 187-205.
Laurence, R. (1997). History and Female Power at Rome. in: Cornell, T. and Lomas, K. eds. Gender and Ethnicity in Ancient Italy. London: Accordia, pp. 129-139.
Laurence, R. (1997). Writing the Roman Metropolis. in: Parkins, H. ed. Roman Urbanism: Beyond the Consumer City. London: Routledge, pp. 1-20.
Visual media
Laurence, R. (2014). Roman Nursing Goddess – The Dea Nutrix. [Animated Film]. TED. Available at:
Laurence, R. (2013). Four Sisters in Ancient Rome. [Animated Film]. TED. Available at:
Laurence, R. (2012). A Glimpse of Teenage Life in Ancient Rome. [Animated Film]. TED. Available at:
Total publications in KAR: 57 [See all in KAR]
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Ray teaches on a variety of modules in Roman History built around his research interests. In 2015, he was awarded the Faculty of Humanities Teaching Prize.  You can see one of his lectures, ‘The Roman Empire: Migration & Mobility’, on YouTube  or listen to ‘The Old Roman Emperor – Augustus’ Empire without End (AD 4-14)’  He also has a blog that provides resources for the study of Roman History, alongside films about life in Rome

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Classical & Archaeological Studies, School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 827159 or contact Classical & Archaeological Studies

Last Updated: 18/12/2015