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Katherine Huntley

Katherine Huntley


Ancient History
Director of the Libarna Urban Landscapes Project (LULP)


Ph.D., University of Leicester
M.A., University of Leicester
B.A., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Katherine (Katie) Huntley completed her PhD in archaeology and ancient history at the University of Leicester in the UK. Her primary research focus is Roman material culture, particularly related to daily life, women, gender, and children. Her doctoral thesis was specifically concerned with the material evidence of children and childhood from the first through the fifth centuries CE. Her other interests include family and domestic life in the ancient world, religious belief and experience, and graffiti. She has worked on archaeological projects throughout Italy, Romania, and England. She served as an archaeological illustrator for five years at Pompeii and was co-director of the Pompeii Post-Excavation Project (PPexP).

She is co-director of the Libarna Archaeological Project (LAP), a collaborative international research project exploring cultural exchanges and urban development in Cisalpine Gaul. The project is centered around the investigation of Libarna, a Roman colony founded during the 2nd cent. BCE in a region of northern Italy inhabited by the Ligures, a Gallic people.  LAP aims to understand the development of Libarna in its geographical, socio-political, and cultural context through comprehensive geophysical survey, strategic excavation, and a study of the existing grey-literature and artifacts. It will map the entirety of the city using multiple geophysical survey techniques and investigate its distinctive use of private space through both architectural remains and contextualized artifact assemblages.

Ancient Libarna is a key site for understanding political, social, and economic change in the understudied region of Piemonte, known as Liguria IX by the Romans following its incorporation into the expanding empire.  Prior to Roman conquest, indigenous Iron Age settlement occupied a space along an important trade route from the Etruscan site of Genova (modern Genoa) to Dertona. At this time the area was multi-ethnic and culturally complex. Libarna’s desirable location led to the settlement of a Roman colony in the 2nd century BCE, which flourished until the 5th century CE.

Despite the long history of the site, its myriad socio-cultural changes, and its economic importance to the ancient region, Libarna has yet to be fully studied. Though piecemeal excavations have taken place since the early 19th century, these represented attempts to record the site before the construction of roads and train rails rather than to further research. No studies to date have been research driven.

The site represents a key case study for understanding the socio-cultural interactions with pre-existing local peoples, which underpinned the political and military processes of Roman colonization. This collaborative research aims to study the entire urban area specifically to address important questions of archaeologically visible cultural, social, and economic developments from the Iron Age, foundation of the Roman colony, republican and imperial settlement.  Although the process of Roman growth and occupation has been studied in central Italy, and at sites a little further south such as Pompeii, the far north of Italy with its more variegated and complex Iron Age settlement has been previously neglected in terms of in-depth archaeological research. The results will significantly advance knowledge of how and to what extent the growing Roman Empire incorporated other cultures.

Ultimately, the Libarna Archaeological Project will demonstrate the richness of the archaeological record at Libarna and its ability to better the understanding of an understudied region of the Roman world. Through the creation of a comprehensive plan of the ancient site, coring, and the excavation of test trenches, LAP will lay the groundwork for further study of this important archaeological site.  Libarna Urban Landscapes Project (LULP)


Office: L178
Phone: (208)426-3220
Spring 2022 Office Hours: Monday 12:00-1:00 pm; Wednesday 10:00 am-11:30 am; and by appointment