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Alessandro Carabia

Classics, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

Space, population and economy in a frontier region: Liguria in the context of the Western Byzantine provinces AD 500-700

The period of Byzantine control (mid 6th – mid 7th century) over the coastal region of Liguria, was a crucial one in the definition of a new Mediterraneana asset. For many parts of the western Mediterranean world this was the definitive passage from Antiquity into the Early Middle Ages and Liguria was no exception.  After several decades of new archaeological investigations in the area not corroborated by a syntesis with a wider Mediterranean contextualisaiton, my PhD project aims to conisder the new data in order to re-evaluates the characteristics of a Byzantine province focussing mostly on archaeological data combined with a new examination of  the textual evidence, in order to generate a model of ‘survival and adaptation’ in a frontier context. The Ligurian context can provide an early example for the developing factors that affected the Byzantine westernmost provinces during the early stages of the Middle Ages. The final aim is to explore Constantinople’s policy and legacy with these provinces, usually perceived as very distant from the core areas of the Empire, not fully integrated and relegated in a part of the Mediterranean where Byzantine influence has always been considered weak. Was Constantinople’s influence on these areas so minor as to only marginally impact their journey into the Early Middle Ages or the Byzantine presence was strong enouth to leave a mark?

Research Area

  • Classics


Hobart M. & Carabia A. (2020) Excavation at Castellaraccio (Civitella Paganico – GR) 2018, in FOLD&R: the Journal of Fasti On-Line.

Carabia A. (2019) A week in the Eternal City, in Diogenes, Supplementum, 7, pp. 61-63. 

Costa S. and Carabia A. (2016) GQBwiki goes open, in Campana S., Scopigno R., Carpentiero G. and Cirillo M. (eds.), CAA 2015. Keep the Revolution Going, Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology v. 2, pp. 1033-1036. (http://zenodo.org/record/50117#.VyiU8xWLQcg).

Carabia A. (2013) Wiki = Beta: il modus vivendi di un sistema per documentare la ricerca, in Archeologia e Cacolatori, Supplemento 4, pp. 209-213. 

Book reviews

Cornieti M. (2019) Le fortificazioni di Iasos di Caria. Rilievi e analisi architettoniche. Oxford, BAR Int. Ser. 2886). Medieval Archaeology, 63, 2, (2019) pp. 204-05.


 Selected papers: 

2022 'Overlapping borders: political, economic, and religious frontiers. The case of Byzantine Liguria'. Panel To Italy - and beyond: Borders as markers of space, culture and identity in the Italian peninsula and its near neighbours, International Medieval Congress of Leeds, July 2022.

2020 "Dying on a frontier region: reassessing the contribution of necropoleis in the study of late antique and Byzantine Liguria (5th-7th centuries). The State Between: Liminality, Transition and Transformation in Late Antiquity and Byzantium, International Graduate Conference, The Oxford University Byzantine Society's, History Faculty, Oxford, 28-29 February 2020.

2019 'Byzantine and early medieval Genoa: a city in transition'. The state of the city: current approaches to urbanism in Early Medieval Italy, Workshop, UCL School of Pharmacy, London, 31st May 2019.

2019 'Defining a Byzantine province in the western Mediterranean: Luni and Byzantine Liguria'. Research Relay of the Midlands4Cities Research Festival 2019. Maple House, Birmingham, 24 May 2019.

2019 'Bloody frontier? The case of Byzantine Liguria against the Longobards'. Blood in Byzantium, The 52nd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies. Churchill College, Cambridge, 30th March – 1st April 2019.

2018 'Dara in Mesopotamia: memories of a Byzantine town, from the Emperors to Facebook'. Panel Fame: Patrons and Memory in Byzantium I, International Medieval Congress of Leeds, July 2018.

2018 'Liguria: living in a frontier region in the late sixth century Byzantine Italy'. Medieval Midlands 2018, Postgraduate Conference, Boundaries and Frontiers in the Middle Ages, University of Nottingham, 4-5 May 2018.

2015 'GQBwiki goes open' (joint paper with Dr. Costa S.). CAA, Keep the revolution going, Università di Siena, 30 March/3 April 2015.


2019 Celebrations in the Eastern Mediterranean: private and public. The 20th Postgraduate Colloquium of the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies. 1st June 2019 (https://gemuob.wordpress.com/annual-colloquium-3/).

Public Engagement & Impact

  • Consultant and advisor for the project Paesaggi Migranti - Orontes River, Antakya, Turkey (http://www.flow-tales.com/?fbclid=IwAR3ERB4ksOlRRx7Bwmt9w4qfYnEsPUwJ-TQpeTxE-4ZlhqZeoy6ZgF6TXro).
  • 2019 - Research placement at the Soprintendenza Archaeologica della Liguria (https://soprintendenza.liguria.beniculturali.it/)
  • From september 2019 - coeditor of post-graduate web journal Diogenes (https://gemuob.wordpress.com/category/diogenes/).
  • Since 2014, member of Let's Dig Again, the first Italian archaelogical web radio born with the aim to fill the gap between academia and the wider public (http://www.letsdigagain.it/).

Other Research Interests

  • Theoretical Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Public Archaeology 


  • Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies (SPBS)
  • Society for Medieval Archaeology 


Postgraduate Teaching Associate at the University of Birmingham, 2018/19. Tutor for first year module: Byzantium and the transformation of the Roman worlds 

Online publications


  • 2019 - Employability placement with IMPERO Project as Site Director (https://imperoproject.com/)
  • 2016-2017 - Project assistant for Network Archaeology