The main area of research of the Roman Mediterranean Archaeology unit (dir. Prof. Frank Vermeulen), namely central Adriatic Italy, is central to this overarching research on the impact on the Roman economy of urban development and the organization and transformation of rural areas. Both the internal and regional developments in Picenum and Adriatic Umbria and the participation of this intensely urbanized Roman region in the trade and exchange in the Adriatic and the whole Mediterranean basin, are studied there.
Special attention is devoted to the formation and evolution of cities, the impact of colonial settlement, demographic trends in the longer term, landscape transformations in suburbia and rural areas, manufacturing and distribution of food (grain, wine, oil ...), import and use of building materials and ceramics, etc.
By intense field prospecting, targeted excavations, material studies and landscape research, and interweaving of archaeological data with information from Roman historical sources and documents, answers are sought to major historical questions on the impact of demographic change, social systems and groups, technological innovation, environmental sustainibility, etc. on the mechanics and transformation of the Roman economy