Elizabeth Colantoni

Associate Professor of Classics
Department of Religion and Classics
University of Rochester
Box 270074
Rochester, NY 14627-0074

Office: 429 Rush Rhees Library
Telephone: 585-275-9360

I have worked at the University of Rochester since 2008; I was promoted to the position of Associate Professor in 2015.  My appointment is in the Department of Religion and Classics, and I am on the steering committee for the Program in Archaeology, Technology, and Historical Structures
My teaching is focused on Mediterranean archaeology, ancient history, and Latin, and my research interests are in Etruscan and Roman archaeology, ancient Roman religion, and early Rome. 


Ph.D., M.A. Classical Art and Archaeology, University of Michigan
M.A. Latin, University of Michigan
M.A. Anthropology, Florida State University
B.A. Classics and French, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


I teach a range of courses on the archaeology, history, and literature of the ancient Mediterranean world.

Recent and future course offerings:

  • Ancient Roman Religion (Spring 2021)
  • Greek Art and Archaeology (Spring 2021)
  • Tacitus (Fall 2021)
  • Who Owns the Past? Archaeology, Museums, and Politics in the 21st Century (Fall 2021)
  • Plautus and Roman Comedy (Spring 2022)
  • Roman Art and Archaeology (Spring 2022)

Course descriptions are available on the University Registrar's web page.


I am currently involved in several different research endeavors. Major projects include: (1) the archaeology of early Roman religion; (2) publication of the excavation of the prehistoric, Roman, late antique and early medieval remains at the San Martino site in Torano di Borgorose, Rieti, Italy.

(1) At present, my main area of research is ancient Roman religion, and I am particularly interested in physical evidence for ancient religious practices.  Religion is well suited to study through both written and material evidence, but many modern narratives of ancient Roman religion rely heavily on written sources, with relatively superficial use of archaeological data.

Most of my work in this area focuses on the analysis and synthesis of archaeological evidence for religious practices in Rome, particularly during the centuries for which there are no surviving contemporarySan Martino literary or historical texts.  My goal is to study and present the archaeological evidence in a way that is meaningful and useful to scholars of Roman religion who deal primarily with textual evidence.  In this way, I hope to encourage the integration of archaeological evidence into the broader scholarly dialogue about Roman religious practices, which will in turn lead to a better and fuller understanding of ancient Roman religion. To that end, I am currently at work on a book-length study of the archaeology of early Roman religion.

(2) I am director of the University of Rochester’s excavations at the San Martino site in Torano di Borgorose, Rieti, Italy.  Excavations here have revealed an intact, uninterrupted stratigraphic sequence from the middle or late Republican period through the present day, with evidence of a Roman-period villa alongside the still-standing medieval church of San Martino.  Also present at the site is an area with the remains of a settlement that dates to the Copper Age.  Our team has completed the excavation phase of the project (2007-2019), and we are currently in the process of analyzing finds and writing a final report.  Further information about the project is available on the archived webpage for the field school that was associated with the excavation phase of the project:

San Martino Archaeological Field School Webpage

Recent Publications

  • 2019: La funzione dei siti su terrazzamenti in opera poligonale. Nuovi dati di scavo dall’area archeologica di San Martino a Torano di Borgorose (Rieti)” in Le Mura poligonali. Atti del Sesto Seminario, edited by Luca Attenni, Valtrend Editore, NapLe
                            Mura poligonaliles, pp. 58-65. Co-authored with Gabriele Colantoni and Maria Rosa Lucidi.
  • 2016: Indagini geofisiche e archeologiche nel Parco di Villa Severi ad Arezzo (2012-2013)” in Atti e Memorie della Accademia Petrarca di Lettere, Arti e Scienze 78, pp. 243-256. Co-authored with Gabriele Colantoni, Cynthia Ebinger and Derek Keir.
  • 2016:L’insediamento rustico di età romana e tardo antica a San Martino di Torano (Borgorose, Rieti): lo stato delle ricerche” in Lazio e Sabina 11, pp. 239-242. Co-authored with Gabriele Colantoni, Maria Rosa Lucidi, Jeffrey A. Stevens and Francesco Tommasi.
  • 2016: "A Note on the Names of Rome’s Curiae” in Latomus 75, pp. 477-478.
  • 2016: Review of The Urbanisation of Rome and Latium Vetus: From the Bronze Age to the Archaic Era, by Francesca Fulminante, in American Journal of Archaeology 120.3, available on-line at
  • 2016: Maenads” and “Villa of the Mysteries” in The Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Mediterranean Religions, edited by Eric Orlin, Lisbeth Fried, Michael Satlow, and Jennifer Knust, Routledge, New York, pp. 558, 990-991.

Complete List of Research Activities page (with pdf copies of some publications)

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Updated 19 January 2021