March 1 AIA Lecture - Pompeii from the Bottom-Up with Steven Ellis
Program begins at 6:30 PM in Joslyn's Witherspoon Concert Hall; cash bar opens at 5 PM

The Omaha-Lincoln Society of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), in partnership with the Department of Fine & Performing Arts at Creighton University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the Joslyn Art Museum continues its exceptional programming with another free public lecture.



"Pompeii from the Bottom-Up: Excavations into the History of Pompeii's Working-Class Families" with Dr. Steven Ellis, Associate Professor of Classics, University of Cincinnati

Tucked away in a corner of ancient Pompeii lies a largely forgotten corner of the city once packed with houses, restaurants, and workshops. All of them quite humble, their (re)discovery and excavation by the University of Cincinnati’s ‘Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia (PARP:PS) over the past few years now offers us a rare chance to piece together the livelihoods of Pompeii’s sub-elite.

In this presentation Ellis takes a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at some of these newest directions and latest discoveries in Pompeian archaeology. These excavations into an entire Pompeian neighborhood are revealing its full and complex history: from the topographic layout of the volcanic landscape prior to earliest human activity, to the discovery of household items under the collapse of the buildings when the city was destroyed in AD 79. Especially fascinating are the stories that emerge from charting the history of each neighboring building and of the (otherwise forgotten) modest families that lived in them.

This new look at a more ‘plebeian’ Pompeii reveals some of the complexities of Roman social and urban networks, ultimately helping us to determine the role that sub-elites played in the shaping of the ancient city, while also registering their response to city- and Mediterranean-wide historical, political, and economic developments.


Steven Ellis
is a Roman archaeologist whose research activities and publications spring from his interests in ancient cities and urban life. He has conducted fieldwork principally throughout Italy and Greece, but with other field activities in Spain, Portugal, France, Morocco, and Algeria. Steven directs the University of Cincinnati's excavations at Pompeii (the 'Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia'); and co-directs the 'Pompeii Quadriporticus Project' and the 'East Isthmia Archaeological Project' in Greece. The results of these activities are a range of publications that cover field reports to synthetic works, on diverse topics across the field of Classics such as Roman retail spaces; urban waste management; Greek and Roman superstitions; Roman coins; site formation processes; urban and sacred infrastructure; movement in cities; social structures and their hierarchies, especially the urban sub-elites; the use of new technologies in archaeological fieldwork; and the Roman fish-salting industry.

In 2011 Ellis edited ‘The Making of Pompeii: studies in the history and urban development of an ancient city’ (JRA suppl. 85, Portsmouth, RI). The recipient of several major grants and fellowships (from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Loeb Classical Library Foundation, National Geographic, and the 'Rome Prize' from the American Academy in Rome), Ellis's forthcoming work includes a book on the history of the Roman retail industry as well as a multi-volume publication on the Pompeii excavations.

Ellis holds a PhD in Classical Archaeology from the University of Sydney, Sydney.



Founded in 1879, the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) was chartered by the United States Congress in 1906, in recognition of its role in the development and passage of the Antiquities Act, which Theodore Roosevelt signed into law that year. Today, the AIA remains committed to preserving the world's archaeological resources and cultural heritage for the benefit of people in the present and in the future. The Lincoln-Omaha Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, chartered in 1995, provides the residents of Nebraska and western Iowa opportunities to attend lectures by prominent international, national, and local archaeologists.