About Me

photo of Dr. Darrell J. RohlI am an archaeologist and ancient historian, with particular specialisms in the edges of the Roman Empire, archaeological theory, digital tools and methodologies, and the history of archaeology and antiquarianism. I completed my PhD in Archaeology in 2014 (Durham University, UK), with a thesis titled “More than a Roman Monument: A Place-centred Approach to the Long-term History and Archaeology of the Antonine Wall,” supervised by Prof. Richard Hingley and Dr Robert Witcher, and examined by Dr Sarah Semple (Durham, UK) and Prof. Howard Williams (Chester, UK). I previously completed MA and BSc dissertations on Arthur's O'on near Falkirk (Scotland), and on the evidence for culture change in the Hellenistic and Roman periods in central Jordan. I was appointed full-time Lecturer in Archaeology and Ancient History at Canterbury Christ Church University in September 2014 and was promoted to the institution's rank of Senior Lecturer in August 2016; I recently served as Archaeology Programme Director, Director of Archaeological Fieldwork, and School Director of Internationalisation. In late summer 2018, I joined the faculty at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, MI USA as Assistant Professor of History, Archaeology, and Digital Humanities, where I have also taken on the role of Archaeology Program Director.

My research focuses on theoretical aspects of life and interaction at the edges of the Roman Empire, and on the connections between the past, the present, people, and place. This means that while I am committed to expanding understanding of the Roman period itself, I am also interested in heritage, memory, and place-making in the context of former Roman frontier zones; material culture is crucial, but so are immaterial and intangible aspects of cultural heritage across multiple periods. I explore these concerns through critical analysis (including fieldwork) of two contrasting Roman frontier contexts: Scotland/the Antonine Wall and Jordan/the Provincia Arabia. My primary research objectives centre on the immediate and continuing impacts and legacy of Roman activities within these frontier zones, including the diachronic production of culture and place that draws upon memories and material remains of the Roman presence over the longue durée. The aim is to cultivate greater academic and public appreciation of connections between past places and cultural practices with the places and cultures that form contemporary regional, national, and global identities. These research activities drive and inform my teaching practice.

A defining period in my career development has been the six years (2010-16) that I served at the helm of the internationally-celebrated Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference (TRAC). In my tenure on the TRAC Standing Committee, I served in an elected (voluntary) capacity to maintain the long-term viability and health of the organization's conference and publication series, working within and supporting a diverse team of committee members, local conference organizers, and TRAC Proceedings editors. Following the successful co-organization of the TRAC 2011 conference at Newcastle, the years between 2012–14 were particularly fruitful; in this period I spearheaded a new Constitution, strategic plan, TRAC Proceedings digitization initiative, adoption of an Open Access policy, and the design/development of the TRAC website. One of my key objectives as Chair of the TRAC Standing Committee was the transformation of the organization from a loose and shifting annual event that lacked consistent direction into a cohesive and vision-driven force that was more fully equipped to champion the development of sophisticated theoretical approaches in Roman archaeology through an expanded and year-round portfolio of events and publications; this is now coming to fruition through the recent addition of TRAC Workshops and the new TRAC Themes in Roman Archaeology book series, which I initiated and serve as Series Editor (for the first volume). Following the successful organisation of the TRAC 2016 conference in Rome (coinciding with the biennual Roman Archaeology Conference/RAC), I stepped down from the TRAC Standing Committee and now serve on the TRAC Advisory Panel, which I established in the final year of my tenure. I am very pleased to see the current TRAC Standing Committee continuing to progress initiatives that I helped to incubate, including the new open access Theoretical Roman Archaeology Journal, for which I also sit on the Advisory Committee.

The Rohl Family, autumn 2018I am married to the wonderful Traci Rohl and have four amazing children. We lived in the UK for the past 10 years, and our littlest guy was born there. For the most part, we've retained our American accents, but we frequently confuse people who are uncertain of where exactly we're from. Now that we have moved back to Michigan over this summer, our new accents (and British vocabulary) continue to confuse some people.

This website provides highlights on my research and teaching activities, and may occasionally feature blog updates. I look forward to hearing from prospective students or collaborators on any of my teaching/research areas, and am happy to discuss these topics with public interest groups, societies, public bodies, and/or the media.

This page was last updated on 29 April 2020.