Department of Archaeology

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Michael Curtis

PhD Research Student (Archaeology and Classics), Faculty of Arts


Research Summary

Research Overview

I am a self-funded Doctoral student in the Departments of Archaeology and Classics at the University of Nottingham. My PhD research is based on the Maritime Cultural Landscape on Crete during the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods. My research considers the rise of the Classical and Hellenistic harbour towns at a time when the island of Crete was territorially divided up into a series of city-states of various shapes and sizes. Some of these coastal settlements were city-states with their own economic environment and territory and others were settlements that were established as trading points and harbours for the inland city-states. There has been no previous study of the Classical harbour towns and this is ground breaking research.

Many of the coastal settlements appear to have survived through the Hellenistic period and into the first - second centuries C.E. when there appears to have been a period of revitalisation, investment and growth. During the Roman period new coastal settlements emerge and there are indications of a population movement from inland to the coast. The harbours played a more significant role in local, regional and island-wide economies during this period.

My research will examine these coastal settlements, reviewing and assessing the available written, epigraphical and archaeological evidence. This is a challenging research project set in a discipline that is under-studied. The number and type of coastal settlements for all of these periods is uncertain and there is considerable variance in the size and function of these settlements. The study will look at creating a model of categorization to facilitate a better level of understanding and interpretation.

This study is the first occasion when the theoretical framework of the Maritime Cultural Landscape has been used on Crete, and indeed within Greece.


Shared Primary: Dr William Bowden (Archaeology), Dr Andreas Kropp (Classics)

Secondary: Dr Jon Henderson (Underwater Archaeology)

Other interests and Research

I am the founder and lead member of the Colloquium on Roman Crete, a new platform aimed at stimulating discussion, networking, sharing of information and the generation of new collaborative research and investigative projects.

I am a professional landscape and maritime archaeologist. I am working with Northamptonshire County Council and their archaeological consultant on the Chester Farm project. Chester Farm, near Irchester, Northamptonshire, is a scheduled ancient monument and location of the new county archaeological and heritage centre. The scope of the archaeological project includes research into the scheduled walled Roman town area and excavation in the adjoining settlement area. The landscape refects continuous occupation from the Iron Age through to the post-medieval period.

I am also the owner of Lost Pages Bookstore, a specialist international online book business that stocks used and out-of-print books & maps relating to Archaeology, Classical, Roman & Byzantine Architecture and History.

Research Contributions and Publications

Cavanagh, W.G. & M. Curtis (eds), 1998. Post-Minoan Crete. Proceedings of the First Colloquium. [British School at Athens Studies, 2.] London: British School at Athens.

Change and Transition in Late Hellenistic and Roman Crete (ed). Archaeopress (forthcoming).

Contextualisation of three ports of the Hellenistic and Roman periods on Crete. Archaeopress (forthcoming).

'Re-creating the urban landscape of Roman Crete', Proceedings of the 12th International Congress of Cretan Studies (forthcoming).

Department of Archaeology

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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