Dr Simon Elliott
Dr Simon Elliott is a best-selling author and has written books on a wide variety of classical history subjects, ranging from Septimius Severus in Scotland and Roman Legionaries to how the Roman military built an empire.
He is also an archaeologist, broadcaster, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Kent, a Trustee for the Council for British Archaeology, and an Ambassador for the Museum of London Archaeology. His books include ‘Sea Eagles of Empire’, among others. His most recent book is called Julius Caesar: Rome's Greatest Warlord
Simon earned a Master's degree in Archaeology from University College London and a Masters in War Studies from King's College London, and his PhD focused on the military presence in Britain during the Roman occupation – in particular the Classis Britannica regional fleet.
His books include:
Sea Eagles of Empire
Empire State: How the Roman Military Built an Empire
Septimius Severus in Scotland
Roman Legionaries: Soldiers of Empire
Ragstone to Riches: Imperial Estates, metalla and the Roman military in the south east of Britain during the occupation
Julius Caesar: Rome's Greatest Warlord
What first sparked your passion for archaeology?
I have always had a love of archaeology and history. I actually went on my first dig as soon as I had a chance. As a lanky 17 year old I remember going to the local post office in Eastwood, Nottingham where I grew up to pick up the CBA Newsletter I had ordered by post. In those day it was an annual list of archaeological digs around the country. I didn't even wait until I got home to open it, trawling through the pages of digs there and then. I chose a Mesolithic axe factory site on Hengistbury Head in Dorset run by the Oxford Quaternary Research Project as my first dig, applied, and within a month was there. I stayed two weeks and loved every second, especially the company of other archaeologists! I'm not sure the folks on the National Express coach I got back home enjoyed my company mind, as we had been living in Beach Huts and there was only one shower on site for the 40 of us!!!
What does archaeology mean to you?
It means so much and so many different things! Its the investigation, the detective work, the historical narrative, the science, the research, the debate about interpretations…and more than anything the people!
What is the most memorable thing to happen to you on a tour?
My Indiana Jones moment, taking guests on a trip down the mountain valleys on the Sorento peninsula to find the Aqua Augusta ring-main aqueduct for the Roman Bay of Naples! Jaw dropping!!!
What is your favourite archaeological site?
The Forum in Rome is truly astonishing in scale, in history and…when you know where to look…detail! For example you can actually track change taking place in the arms of armour of the Roman military at the time of Septimius Severus on his arch there, and given he planted it almost on top of the Senate curia, take a view about how he viewed the political classes in Rome!
How many tours have you led for Andante?
Including my Study Days and the Roman Kent tour, it must be over 20 by now!