Institute of Archaeology


Dirk Booms - Honorary Research Associate

Dirk Booms
  • Honorary Research Associate
  • PhD
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK

Dirk Booms received his PhD from the University of Cambridge working on the Roman emperors' self-representations through the art and architecture at their villas, and as such was part of the excavations of the emperor Marcus Aurelius' sumptuous villa at Villa Magna (2006-2010), analyzing and reconstructing the architecture, and creating the 3D model. He has furthermore excavated in Belgium, Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey.

Dirk has previously lectured at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, and Birkbeck, and from 2012 to 2017 was curator at the British Museum of the Roman Mediterranean collections. He has curated several travelling exhibitions about the Roman Empire, as well as the major Sicily: Culture and Conquest (British Museum, 2016), which told the island's history from prehistory until the Renaissance. His research interests, apart from architecture and architectural reconstructions, include construction methods, Roman wall paintings and Latin epigraphy.

Research Interests

  • Roman architecture and construction methods
  • Architectural Reconstructions
  • Latin epigraphy
  • Medieval Southern Italy and Sicily

Dirk is co-director of the current UCL excavations at Bulla Regia (Tunisia) and Volubilis (Morocco), both of which are directed by Corisande Fenwick and respectively the Institute National Du Patrimoine (INP) and the Institut National des Sciences de l'Archéologie et du Patrimoine (INSAP).

At Bulla Regia, we are excavating a recently discovered Late Antique Church outside the Roman city walls, which includes a large cemetery. At Volubilis, the focus of the excavation is on the medieval phases of occupation, equally outside the Roman city walls, where the transition from Roman to Late Antique to early Arab residential houses can be documented in the so-called Arab Quarter.


Selected recent publications

  • Booms, D. (forthcoming, 2019) Sicily: Heritage of the World. Conference Proceedings, Part II: Medieval Sicily and the Norman legacy. British Museum Research Publications (London: British Museum Press).
  • Chaouali, M., C. Fenwick and D. Booms (forthcoming, 2018) A new Christian cemetery-church at Bulla Regia, Libyan Studies.
  • Booms, D. (forthcoming, 2018) "Charles Townley's Etruscan Collection," in Swaddling, J. (ed.) An Etruscan Affair: the impact of early Etruscan discoveries on European culture. British Museum Research Publications (London: British Museum Press).
  • Booms, D. (2016) Latin Inscriptions (London: British Museum Press/Getty Publications).
  • Booms, D. and P. Higgs (2016) Sicily: Culture and Conquest (London: British Museum Press/Cornell University Press).
  • Booms, D. (2016) "The Architectural Decoration," "Floors and Marble Revetment," "Architectural Ornament" and "Architectural Reconstruction of the Building," in Fentress, E., C. Goodson and M. Maiuro (eds) Excavations at Villa Magna 2006-2010. Archaeological Monographs of the British School at Rome (London: British School at Rome): 89-111.
  • Payne, E. and D. Booms (2014) "Analysis of pigment palettes as evidence for room status in Nero's Golden House," British Museum Technical Research Bulletin 8: 117-26.
  • Booms, D. (2012) "Problematizing Privacy at Roman Imperial Villas," in Lafrenz Samuels, K. and D. Totten (eds) Making Roman Places, Past and Present. JRA Supplementary Series 89: 91-102.
  • Booms, D. (2010) "The vernae Caprenses: Traces of Capri's History after Tiberius," Papers of the British School at Rome 78: 133-43.
  • Booms, D. (2007) "Scaffolding Signatures: Putlog holes and the identification of individual builders in two Ostian baths," Journal of Roman Archaeology 20: 273-283.