Erica Rowan


  • TW20 0EX

Personal profile

Research interests

As an archaeologist with a specialization in Roman archaeology and archaeobotany, I work on the formation and evolution of ancient cultural identities and economic developments through an examination of Roman foodways. My research centres on ancient consumption practices, the evolution of food identities, the economies of production and alternative fuel sources. I approach historical questions regarding ancient foodways by integrating the physical food remains with the more traditional forms of material culture,  ancient texts. 

In conjunction with my current research, I serve as the environmental specialist on excavations at Utica (Tunisia), Aphrodisias and Sardis (Turkey), Orvieto and the Villa d’Orazio in Vacone (Italy). The new archaeobotanical datasets generated by these fieldwork projects range in date from the 7th century BC to the 12th century AD with Lydian and Roman material from Sardis, Etruscan and Roman material from Orvieto, late antique and early Ottoman material from Aphrodisias and Punic through to early Islamic assemblages from Utica. At the individual site level, I am utilizing the finds to enhance our understanding of local diet and food waste depositional practices. Using the combined data, I am working to reconstruct the spread and potential globalization of Roman food culture throughout the Empire. 

Educational background

I hold a BA in Classics and a BSc in Health Sciences from McMaster University in Canada. In 2009 I completed my MSt in Classical Archaeology and in 2014 I was awarded my DPhil in Archaeology, both from the University of Oxford. In September 2014 I took up the two year post of Leventis Associate Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and following the fellowship I spent a year at Exeter as a teaching fellow.  

I joined Royal Holloway in September 2017 as the new lecturer in Classical Archaeology. 


CL1581 Introduction to Roman Archaoeology 

CL2196/3182/5182 Understanding Pompeii and Herculaneum

CL2193 - The Architecture of Ancient Italy and Sicily

CL2194 - Dig to Digital

CL3286 - Food in the Ancient World


I also contribute to the teaching of:

CL1570 Studying Classical Antiquity

MA 7AACM700 Classical Archaeology

7AACM500/ CL5300/HISTGA01 Sources and Methods

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or