Assistant Professor of Classics
PhD Pennsylvania 2011
Bldg 110, Room 210
Wednesdays: 2:00 - 3:00 pm
Justin Leidwanger’s research focuses on the economic networks that shaped ancient maritime commerce, particularly during the Roman era. These interests lead him to spend more time in, rather than around, the waters of the Mediterranean, where his fieldwork explores the shipwrecks and ports that provide primary archaeological evidence for the modes and mechanisms of exchange. For more than a decade, he has directed survey and excavation projects primarily off the coasts of Turkey, Italy and Cyprus. Since 2011, he has been collaborating with Middle East Technical University and Brock University to investigate the Archaic through late Roman harbors of Burgaz on the Datça peninsula in Turkey. In collaboration with the Soprintendenza del Mare, he has recently developed the Marzamemi Maritime Heritage Project, a joint initiative that combines survey and excavation with maritime heritage education and museum and tourism development at the site of several ancient shipwrecks off southeast Sicily. The first season in 2013 focused of the famous “church wreck”, a late Roman ship that sank while carrying a cargo of prefabricated architectural elements intended to decorate the interior of an early Christian basilica. An awareness of the unique socioeconomic insights offered by the underwater material record prompted his involvement in issues of ethical stewardship, responsible management, public involvement, and collaboration in maritime archaeological investigations. On this topic, he has co-organized a series of workshops and conferences in collaboration with the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, where he is active as a Fellow, and co-authored recent articles in the American Journal of Archaeology, the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, and elsewhere. In the Classics Department, he teaches courses on classical archaeology, Greco-Roman architecture, Mediterranean seafaring and connectivity, archaeological ethics, and the ancient economy.