My research is driven by a keen interest in agriculture and nutrition in antiquity. My main areas of study are Roman archaeology and economic history. Within these themes, much of my attention goes to Roman viticulture. The chronological and regional focus of my work is on Italy and the Western Mediterranean from the (Late) Republic to the High Empire, although I do venture on occasion into late antique territory. I have published mostly on agricultural and technical aspects of viniculture and olive cultivation, and more recently also on trade, demography, landscape use and diet.
I was originally trained in Classical Archaeology at the KU Leuven, but quickly adopted a comparative and holistic approach to my research. My predoctoral work on wine and olive oil production in central Adriatic Italy was carried out while working for the Potenza Valley Survey (Ghent University) on a voluntary basis. This research was funded by the Collegio dei Fiamminghi in Bologna, and the Academia Belgica and the Belgian Historical Institute in Rome; and was awarded with the BABesch Byvanck Award (2008--2010). In 2011, I obtained a PhD fellowship from Pisa University (later a joint PhD with Ghent) to develop alternative interpretative models for the study of wine production and trade in Roman Italy. As a PhD candidate, I gained expertise in Roman economic archaeology and its many specialized sub-fields, and acquired the skills for cutting-edge multidisciplinary research.
Shortly before completing my PhD in 2015, I was appointed as scientific collaborator at Ghent University. In 2016, I obtained a Ghent BOF-postdoctoral fellowship to investigate the fundamental link between population and viticulture developments in Roman Italy. Part of this study was conducted as a visiting scholar at Columbia University in the City of New York (2017-2018), where I explored new analytical methods and further sophisticated my theoretical and conceptual thinking on the Roman economy.
My current research (2019-2022) deals with the Roman 'arbustum', a silvoarable agroforestry system that combined crop fields with vines trained on host trees. I hereby aim to gain insight into the position and the economics of vine agroforestry in the agricultural landscape of central and northern Italy, and to explore its role in commercial vine-growing under evolving demographic and climatic conditions in the Late Republic and the Early/High Empire (200 BC - AD 200). For this project, I have been granted a senior postdoctoral fellowship by the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO).
For more information on this project, please visit: https://back-to-the-roots.squarespace.com/
In the academic year 2018-2019, I was a co-teacher of the Bachelor courses 'Roman Archaeology: the Mediterranean World' and 'Practicum material culture of Roman antiquity'.