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Justin Leidwanger

Justin Leidwanger

Associate Professor of Classics
Faculty, Stanford Archaeology Center
Ph.D. Pennsylvania 2011

Justin Leidwanger's work focuses on Mediterranean mobilities, maritime communities, and systems of exchange. Shipwrecks and port sites, especially in southeast Sicily and southwest Turkey, are central to exploring these themes in the field, providing evidence for connections and the long-term dynamics of communities situated amid the economically, socially, and politically changing worlds from the rise of Rome through late antiquity.

Between 2013 and 2019, he led investigations of the 6th-century “church wreck” at Marzamemi (Sicily), which sank while carrying nearly 100 tons of marble architectural elements. Work continues through underwater survey, 3D analysis, and publication as well as immersive heritage initiatives in the local Museum of the Sea and associated pop-up exhibits and dive trails. Project 'U Mari extends this collaborative field research in southeast Sicily, interrogating the heritage of diverse but co-dependent interactions with and across the sea that have long defined the central Mediterranean and offer a resource for deeper engagement with the past and sustainable future development.

Building on survey since 2017, the project’s newest work examines socioeconomic dynamics spanning 2500 years of tuna fishing through maritime landscape archaeology and documentation of fading material culture and traditional knowledge of the mattanza. Our efforts simultaneously foreground heritage activism through community-based archaeology of the spaces, materialities, and memories of contemporary journeys of forced and undocumented migration across the central Mediterranean.

Justin teaches courses and advises students on topics in Hellenistic, Roman, and late antique archaeology, economies and interaction, port networks, ceramic production and exchange, and Greco-Roman architecture and engineering. The Maritime Archaeology Lab at the Archaeology Center serves as a fieldwork base and resource for digital modeling (structured light scanning, laser scanning, photogrammetry, GIS, network analysis) and pottery analysis (petrography, pXRF, computational morphological analysis).

Author of Roman Seas: A Maritime Archaeology of Eastern Mediterranean Economies (Oxford), and editor or co-editor of three more volumes, including Maritime Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean World (Cambridge), his current project is titled Fluid Technologies: Standardization, Efficiency, and the Roman Maritime Economy. This newest work arises from research with students in the field, lab, and museum, analyzing transport amphoras, port infrastructure, and other clues to ancient technologies of distribution.


Justin Leidwanger, Elizabeth S. Greene, Leopoldo Repola
January 2022
The central Mediterranean today marks one of the most active and dangerous routes for sea crossings to Europe, due in no small part to border regimes...
Justin Leidwanger, Greene, E. S.; and Donnelly, A.
April 2021
Between 2013 and 2019, collaborative survey and excavation were carried out on the sixth-century CE shipwreck at Marzamemi, in southeast Sicily,...
March 2020
That seafaring was fundamental to Roman prosperity in the eastern Mediterranean is beyond doubt, but a tendency by scholars to focus on the grandest...
Sarah Wilker, Justin Leidwanger, Elizabeth S. Greene
December 2019
Between 2011 and 2015, archaeological research was carried out at the Archaic through Late Antique harbors of Burgaz in southwestern Turkey. The...
November 2019
Amphoras, Exchange, and the Agricultural Economy of the Knidia
The contributions to this special thematic issue of HEROM: Journal on Hellenistic and...
December 2018
This volume brings together scholars of Mediterranean archaeology, ancient history, and complexity science to advance theoretical approaches and...
October 2018
The dense maritime material record off SE Sicily offers a vibrant testimony to millennia of cultural interaction between west and east, south and...
October 2017
This article bridges two divergent traditions in the study of Graeco-Roman shipwrecks: analysis of single well-explored sites and growing databases...
Justin Leidwanger, Deborah N. Carlson, Sarah M. Kampbell
July 2015
In 2007 a symposium was held at Texas A&M University to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Texas A&M University Press’s publication of...