Dr Penny Coombe

Dr Penny Coombe

Stipendiary Lecturer in Classical Archaeology


My career so far has encompassed academic teaching (Royal Holloway, Sheffield, Oxford), practical work and research at museums and heritage organisations (Museum of London, London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre, and Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles), and as policy advisor in the Civil Service. I have also excavated in Italy, Britain and Austria.


I expect to teach most undergraduate Classical Archaeology papers, including Art Under the Roman Empire: AD 14–337; Greek Art and Archaeology: c. 500–300 BC; Greek Sculpture: 600–300 BC; Hellenistic Art and Archaeology: 330–30 BC; Roman Architecture; Texts and Contexts.

In combination with my role at the Ashmolean Museum I will offer handling sessions and object-focused tuition, as well as providing archaeological insights for Approaches to History.

Research Interests

I am particularly interested in the ways in which visual culture was adopted and adapted through the Roman empire, especially in the north-west provinces, as a result of local choices of representation, accessibility of materials, and availability of technical skills. Much of my published work to date has focused on individual or groups of objects, and I have most recently been working on a collection of 1700 or so fragments of coloured architectural marble from Roman Colchester (funded by the Roman Society). My ambition now is to develop a synthesis of cultural interaction across Roman Britain and Germany, based on my DPhil work, which will provide new considerations of the 'geography of art' in this region.

Recent Publications

In prep: Coombe, P. and Cousins, E. ‘Visual worlds of Roman Britain’. In M. Pitts and L. Lodwick† (eds) Communities, Connectivity and Complexity in Roman Britain. Oxford: BAR. For submission late 2023.

In press: ‘Mother Goddesses in Roman Britain and their continental relationships’. In A.Schmölzer and A. Lätzer-Lasar (eds) Protective Mother or Fertile Woman? The Polyvalences of Female Deities, Graz: Keryx series, University of Graz. Sole author. Forthcoming, expected late 2023.

Coombe, P. and Ying Tung Fung (eds) (2022) Approaches to disruptions and interactions in archaeology. Proceedings of the Graduate Archaeology at Oxford Annual Conferences 20172019. Oxford: Access Archaeology.

Coombe, P., Henig, M., and Hayward, K. (2021) ‘Roman sculpture from the villa at Stanwick, Northamptonshire’, Britannia 52: 227–75.

Coombe, P., Grew, F., Hayward, K. and Henig, M. (2015) Corpus Signorum Imperii Romani, GB I.10: Roman sculpture from London and the South East. Oxford: Oxford University Press for the British Academy

Awards and Distinctions

Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy