Elizabeth Colantoni
Assistant 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
Email: Elizabeth.Colantoni@Rochester.edu

My teaching is focused on Classical archaeology, ancient history, and Latin, and my research interests are in Etruscan and Roman archaeology, ancient Roman religion, and early Rome.  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.


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 Classical world.

Recent and future course offerings:

  • The Roman World (Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2013)
  • Classical Archaeology: Roman Art and Archaeology (Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2013)
  • Plautus and Roman Comedy (Spring 2009, Spring 2013)
  • Building, Engineering and Society in Classical Antiquity (Fall 2009, Fall 2013)
  • Classical Archaeology: Greek Art and Archaeology (Spring 2010, Spring 2014)

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


I am currently involved in four research projects, focused on:

(1) the archaeology of early Roman religion
(2) excavation of the pre-Roman and Roman remains at the San Martino site in Torano di Borgorose, Rieti, Italy
(3) the use of augmented reality in the conservation of archaeological monuments
(4) the ancient Roman aqueduct of Arezzo

(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 contemporary 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 San
                    Martinocurrently 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 remains from the Copper Age as well as an intact, uninterrupted stratigraphic sequence from the middle Republican period through the present day, with evidence of a Roman-period villa alongside the still-standing medieval church of San Martino.  The site stands to offer important data about: settlement characteristics in the Copper Age, as no other habitation site from this period has been found in the vicinity; the dating, use and significance of polygonal masonry terracing, a type of ancient architectural feature widely present in central Italy, but rarely studied on the basis on excavation data; the nature of the production and trade of pottery in the area in the late antique period; and the dating of ancient earthquakes in the region.

San Martino Archaeological Field School WebpageArezzo

(3) Together with colleagues Renato Perucchio and Jannick Rolland, I am part of a team that is working to create an augmented reality model of an ancient Roman  monument to demonstrate how such models can be used for the monitoring and conservation of ancient structures. This project recently received the University of Rochester's Provost's Multidisciplinary Award.

(4) In collaboration with Cindy Ebinger, Renato Perucchio, and colleagues in Italy, I have established an agreement between the University of Rochester and the Accademia Petrarca of Arezzo, Italy, to carry out a joint study of the ancient Roman aqueduct of Arezzo. Little survives of the aqueduct above the ground surface today, and the goal of the study is to use geophysical, archaeological, and engineering research methodologies to establish the route of the aqueduct as well as to understand better the history and technical features of the aqueduct.

Ancient Roman Aqueduct of Arezzo Summer Program Webpage

Recent Publications

  • 2013: “Tarquinia” in The Encyclopedia of Ancient History, edited by Roger Bagnall, Kai Brodersen, Craige Champion, Andrew Erskine, and Sabine Heubner. Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, Massachusetts, vol. XI, pp. 6532-6533.
  • 2012: “Straw to Stone, Huts to Houses: Transitions in Building Practices and Society in Protohistoric Latium” in Monumentality in Etruscan and Early Roman Architecture. Ideology and Innovation, edited by Michael L. Thomas and Gretchen E. Meyers, University of Texas Press, Austin, pp. 21-40.
  • 2012: “Materiali ceramici di età romana e tardo-antica dall’area archeologica di San Martino a Torano di Borgorose (Rieti)” in Lazio e Sabina 8, pp. 181-186. Co-authored with Gabriele Colantoni, Astrid D’Eredità, and Maria Rosa Lucidi.
  • 2012: “Polarities in Religious Life: Male/Female in the Roman World” in Thesaurus Cultus et Rituum Antiquorum, edited by Antoine Hermary and Bertrand Jaeger, Fondation pour le Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae and Getty Publications, Los Angeles, vol. VIII, 2012: 270-282, pl. 25. 
  • 2011: Review of Cult Places and Cultural Change in Republican Italy, by Tesse D. Stek, in American Journal of Archaeology 115.3, available on-line at http://www.ajaonline.org/sites/default/files/1153_Colantoni.pdf