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Dr. Tesse Stek

Dr. Tesse Stek
Reuvensplaats 3-4 2311 BE Leiden
Assistant Professor
Projects: Landscapes of Early Roman Colonisation, Sacred Landscape Project
Publications: Cult Places and Cultural Change in Republican Italy
Dr. Tesse D. Stek is Assistant Professor in Classical & Mediterranean Archaeology. After studying European and Mediterranean Archaeology in Amsterdam and Rome, Tesse wrote his dissertation on ancient Italy at the University of Amsterdam, which involved extensive fieldwork in Central-Southern Italy. Before coming to Leiden, he taught archaeological theory, Greek, Etruscan and especially Roman archaeology at the Universities of Amsterdam, Nijmegen and Oxford. He worked as post-doc at the Faculty of Classics at Oxford (Rubicon, NWO) and was elected Golding Junior Research Fellow at Brasenose College, Oxford to conduct research on Roman republican colonization. With a Marie-Curie Fellowship (FP7-IEF) at Glasgow University he expanded this research on early Roman colonization with an archaeological fieldwork approach, setting up a new archaeological project in the territory of the ancient colony of Aesernia (founded 263 BC) in Central-Southern Italy. He came to Leiden in November 2011, amongst other things to further develop the archaeological / fieldwork component of the Classical and Mediterranean department. He develops and teaches courses on all BA and (R)MA levels on topics including fieldwork methodology, Roman and pre-Roman archaeology of the Western Mediterranean, the Archaeology of the Roman economy and the Archaeology of Roman imperialism and colonialism. In 2012, two further grants from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO Free Competition and Veni), enabled him to expand the Roman colonization research line and set up his present research group, in which currently four postdocs, PhD’s and other researchers are involved in Leiden, with several affiliated researchers based in Italy.

Research interests and projects

As part of a broader interest in the development of Roman expansionism and its effects on local societies in the long run, ongoing research projects regard the archaeology and history of Roman Italy in the Republican and early imperial periods. Current projects target the character of Roman Republican expansion and colonization, and its impact on, and interaction with, local non-urban Italic society in Central-Southern Italy (ancient Samnium). Within this overarching historical question, there are two main foci of running (fieldwork) projects, 1) on Roman colonial society and settlement organization, and 2) on pre-Roman Italic non-urban societal organization. As to the latter, the central role of rural cult places and religion in Italic society and integration processes during Roman conflict and consequent dominion was the subject of Tesse’s dissertation. Together with a focus on landscape archaeology, this has informed fieldwork projects in Central and Southern Italy over the last decade: in collaboration with the Soprintendenza archeologica del Molise, he co-ordinates field work since 2004, including intensive field surveys around the Hellenistic-Roman temples of S. Giovanni in Galdo, Colle Rimontato, and Gildone, Cupa, and the Larino and Rotello field survey projects, all in Molise together with Dr. J. Pelgrom; and the Via Appia project with Prof. E. Moormann and Dr. S. Mols.

In 2011, he started, together with a group of enthusiastic colleagues, archaeological excavations at the Italic/Samnite/Roman temple of S. Giovanni in Galdo, Colle Rimontato, with the aim to clarify its chronological development in relation to the local settlement pattern, as well as its architectural lay-out in the main monumental phase of the late 2nd century BC/beginning of the 1st century BC. The excavation project is carried out in collaboration with the Soprintendenza archeologica del Molise, in particular Dott.ssa A. di Niro. As a prelude to this research on cult sites, the book Cult places and cultural change in Republican Italy (2009) discusses the development of Italic and Roman cult places after the Roman conquest, as well as different ways in which Rome impacted on religious practice in the Italian peninsula (‘religious romanisation'). A collection of papers on this subject will soon come out.

In 2013, a new NWO Roman colonization program has started, as part of which fieldwork is being conducted and/or planned in the territory of Aesernia (2011-2012: Marie Curie; 2013- NWO) and several other areas in Central and Southern Italy. A collection of ancient historical and archaeological papers, the result of a European Science Foundation (ESF) Exploratory Workshop, on Roman Republican colonization is in preparation.

Regions: Central Italy, Southern Italy
Periods: Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Iron Age, Late Roman, Roman
Institutes: Leiden University