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Dorian Borbonus

Associate Professor

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: History


Email: Dorian Borbonus
Phone: 937-229-2802
Website: Visit Site
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

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 L. Marshall (ed.) The Archaeology of Slavery: a Comparative Approach to Captivity and Coercion (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), 326-46.

(Forthcoming) "Countering Inequality through Organized Collective Burial in Imperial Rome" in Cerasuolo, O. (ed.) Inequality in Antiquity, Tracing the Archaeological Record. (State University of New York Press).

Review of M. Garcia Barraco (ed.), "Il mausoleo di Augusto: monumento funebre e testamento epigrafico del primo imperatore romano," (Rome: Arbor Sapientiae Editore, 2014). Journal of Roman Studies 106, 289-90, 2016, Published online at

Review of S. R. Joshel and L. H. Petersen, "The Material Life of Roman Slaves" (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014) American Journal of Archaeology 119.3, 2015, Published online at

Review of J. R. Brandt, M. Prusac and H. Roland (eds.), "Death and changing rituals: function and meaning in ancient funerary practices," (Oxford; Philadelphia: Oxbow Books, 2015). Bryn Mawr Classical Review. 2015.07.23

Review of B. E. Borg, "Crisis and ambition: tombs and burial customs in third-century CE Rome." (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2013) Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2014.07.05.

Selected Presentations

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.

January 7, 2018: "New Research on Funerary Monuments in Rome," co-organizer of panel (with Regina Gee), 119th Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, Boston, MA.

January 6, 2018: "Roman Freedmen: Community, Diversity, and Integration," co-organizer of joint AIA-SCS colloquium (with Rose MacLean), 119th Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, Boston, MA.

November 16, 2016: "Columbarium Tombs and Collective Identity in Augustan Rome," American Institute of Archaeology Rome Chapter, University of California, Rome Study Center, Rome, Italy.

November 7, 2016: "Towards a funerary landscape of imperial Rome," American Academy in Rome, Rome, Italy.

September 15, 2016: "Organized Collective Burial in the Port Cities of Roman Italy," Conference on "Harbour City Deathscapes in Roman Italy,"The Danish Academy in Rome, Rome, Italy.

March 20, 2015: “Building and Using Columbarium Tombs in Augustan Rome,” Conference on “Against Gravity: Building Practices in the Pre-Industrial World,” University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.