Mobility, Transitions and Transformations

Mobility is a prominent theme in medieval and ancient cultural thought and features in the research of many of the staff in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities who work on the ancient and medieval worlds. ‘Mobility’ is here understood not simply as geographical migration of individuals, groups or indeed animals and plants – a field that is already attracting much attention – but as extending to texts and objects; hence social and cultural concepts of mobility and transformation are also under scrutiny, including mobility across social and cosmological boundaries and mechanisms for signalling and effecting inclusion, exclusion, and the creation of new communities. Other projects might investigate the experiences and impact of migration and population movements, as a phenomenon that transcends political borders and communities.

The study of pre-modern ‘Mobility’ therefore also sheds light on the diachronic construction of intellectual communities that connect the ancient and medieval pasts and are at the foundation of the modern world. As such, these studies have ramifications for the disciplinary, intellectual, or idealising traditions that have dictated/informed/restricted investigation of these issues in past scholarship.


Umberto Albarella

Umberto’s research investigates human-induced livestock mobility. The evidence he uses derives from the study of animal remains from archaeological sites and the calculation of isotopic values, mainly Strontium and Oxygen, in archaeological tooth enamel. The geographic area of his work mainly includes Britain, Italy and Iberia (Neolithic to Post-medieval). Additionally, he studies contemporary pastoral societies in Sardinian and Corsica using an ethnoarchaeological approach. Themes that he has investigated include nomadism, transhumance, trade and urban-rural connections.

Maureen Carroll
Lizzie Craig-Atkins
John Collis
J. F. Drinkwater (Associate and Honorary Lecturer, Dept. of Archaeology)

Drinkwater’s principal field of research is the Roman West, from the late-first century B.C. to the early-sixth century A.D. In his Roman Gaul (1983) and Gallic Empire (1987) he investigated the mixed response of Gauls to incoming Greco-Roman culture and power. In Fifth-Century Gaul (ed. with H. Elton, 1992) he brought together papers dealing with the impact on Gallo-Roman society and identity of the movement of trans-Rhenish populations into the West. In Alamanni and Rome (2007) he considered a specific incoming ‘Germanic’ population and the development of its (pre-existing/Roman-generated?) ‘identity’. Most recently, in Diefenbacher and Müller (eds), Gallien in Spätantike und Frühmittelalter (2013), he has returned to the question of western ‘Roman’ identity in considering the process of ‘unbecoming Roman’, i.e. when, how and why this identity disappeared in the post-Roman world.

James Cook

James Cook’s research focusses on the transmission of English music and musical ideas to continental Europe in the long fifteenth century, a period in which English music reached an international popularity unsurpassed until The Beatles and the British invasion. Of particular interest is the role of internationally mobile composers and musicians and expatriate mercantile communities. He is currently finishing a monograph on the development of the Mass cycle in England and its influence on (particularly Burgundian) continental composers of the same generation and that which followed.

Katie Hemer

To follow.

Julia Hillner

Julia Hillner leads an international interdisciplinary research project investigating how the banishment of hundreds of Christian clerics to a myriad of places all around the Mediterranean during the religious controversies of late antiquity shaped the institution of the Christian Church in this period and beyond. Applying both quantitative (including social network analysis and digital mapping) and qualitative analysis to a wide range of sources (histories, hagiography, laws, letters, treatises, epigraphy and papyri) the project is seeking to establish how the opportunities and challenges of forced mobility influenced the spread of ideas and behaviour, and how far exiled clerics acted as brokers and gatekeepers of late antique knowledge.

This project is also listed under MARCUS’ justice strand


Angie Hobbs
Daniele Miano

One of Daniele’s research projects focuses on gods and goddesses and their relationship with concepts in Roman and pre-Roman Italy, which is frequently made clear by deities sharing the name of a concept (e.g. Fortuna, ‘luck’, Salus, ‘welfare’, ‘health’, Victoria, ‘victory’ etc). Daniele is profoundly interested on the transmission and diffusion of these divinities on a broad geographical area, but also on the question of their translation across different languages (Latin, Greek, Oscan, Etruscan), and the consequences of this translation, including semantic change and assimilation.

John Moreland


Jane Rempel

Rempel’s work explores physical mobility – of people, goods and ideas – associated with ancient Greek colonisation in the Black Sea region, as well as the social transformation of identities and creation of new communities associated with the foundation of Greek settlements ‘abroad’. Recent projects include investigating the relationship of Demeter worship and elite identity in the Bosporan kingdom; transformations in rural landscapes and their impact on community formation; and placing monumental burial traditions of the fourth and third centuries BC within Black Sea networks. Rempel is also a collaborator in the Sinop Kale Excavations, investigating the site of ancient Sinope on the Turkish coast of the Black Sea (


Casey Strine
Martial Staub


Meredith J C Warren

Warren’s research explores the mobility of theological concepts across religious boundaries in antiquity.  In particular, she examines how the semantics of food and taste play transformative roles in ancient Mediterranean narrative. Her current book project, recently accepted for publication in the Writings from the Greco-Roman World Supplement series at Society of Biblical Literature Press and titled Hierophagy: Transformational Eating in the Ancient World, defines for the first time the concept of hierophagy in ancient Jewish, Christian, and “pagan” narratives such as 4 Ezra, a text on which Warren has published in the journal Studies in Religion (44.3: 2015). Warren defines Hierophagy as a kind of eating found in literature that is transformative in such a way that the participant in such an event gains access to another world in the process of the eating. This type of ingestion is found in literature from all over the ancient Mediterranean and as such, reflects the shared cultural understanding of the significance of other-worldly meal experiences.