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Dorian Borbonus

Associate Professor

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: History


Email: Dorian Borbonus
Phone: 937-229-2802
HM 483


Dr. Dorian Borbonus is an associate professor in the Department of History where he teaches courses in ancient Greek and Roman history. He studied classical archaeology in Berlin and Philadelphia, and was a regular member at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens from 2001-2002. He has traveled and excavated in Greece and Turkey and lived in Athens and Rome. He speaks German and Italian and reads French, Latin, and ancient Greek.

Dr. Borbonus is interested in Roman cities and his research concentrates on the development of Roman funerary architecture and art. He was a contributing author on the Mapping Augustan Rome project and has written a book on Columbarium Tombs, enigmatic tombs in Rome that resemble the more familiar catacombs. Currently, he is working on a research project on the development of funerary culture in imperial Rome and spent the academic year 2016-17 as a Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome to carry out the research underlying this book. The goal of this project is to create a narrative of historical change in the imperial capital that is based primarily on material culture. Dr. Borbonus is also engaged in Fieldwork (see video below) that documents the extant architecture of the Roman Cemetery of San Paolo in Rome.

Curriculum Vitae (www) >

Courses Taught

  • HST 103: The West and the World
  • HST 220: Survey of Ancient History
  • HST 302: Identity in Ancient Greece
  • HST 303: Roman Imperial Rule
  • HST 304: Ancient History and Modern Ideology


  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2006

Research Interests

  • Roman art and archaeology
  • Roman funerary culture
  • Topography of Rome
  • Roman social history

Selected Publications


(In press) “Bauliche Eingriffe in den frühkaiserzeitlichen Kolumbarien Roms,” in Umgebaut. Umbau-, Umnutzungs- und Umwertungsprozesse in der antiken Architektur. 13. Diskussionen zur Archäologischen Bauforschung, ed. Wulf-Rheidt, U. and K. Piesker.

D. Borbonus, “Organized Collective Burial in the Port Cities of Roman Italy” in Harbour City Deathscapes in Roman Italy, ed. Petersen, J. H. and N. Bargfeldt (Rome: Edizioni Quasar, 2020).

D. Borbonus, Columbarium Tombs and Collective Identity in Augustan Rome (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

D. Borbonus, “Roman Columbarium Tombs and Slave Identities,” in The Archaeology of Slavery: A Comparative Approach to Captivity and Coercion, ed. Marshall, L. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2014) 326-46.

Selected Presentations

January 3, 2020: “Mapping Funerary Monuments in the Periphery of Imperial Rome,” 121st Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, Washington, DC, panel on “Blurring the Boundaries: Interactions between the Living and the Dead in the Roman World.”

November 15, 2019: “Permissu Decurionum: Freed Slaves and Burial in the Columbarium of the Volusii,” Conference on “Freedmen in the Roman World,” University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA.

April 3, 2019: “Documentazione architettonica e ricostruzione digitale: difficoltà e possibilità,” Giornata di Studi “Il Sepolcreto della via Ostiense a Roma: nuovi studi e ricerche,” Escuela Española de Historia y Archqueología en Roma, Rome, Italy.

May 25, 2018: “Economic strategies in the collective tombs of Imperial Rome” 19th International Congress of Classical Archaeology, Session 434 “The economy of death: New research on collective burial spaces in Rome from the Late Republican to the Late Roman period,” Cologne/Bonn, Germany.

February 28, 2018: “Roman Tombs and the Cemetery on the Via Ostiense: from Past Agendas to Digital Humanities,” Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.

February 22, 2018: “Bauliche Eingriffe in den frühkaiserzeitlichen Kolumbarien Roms,” Umgebaut: Umbau-, Umnutzungs-, und Umwertungsprozesse in der antiken Architektur, 13. Diskussionen zur Archäologischen Bauforschung, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Architekturreferat, Berlin, Germany.