James Prosser ’07, a Ph.D. candidate in the Interdepartmental Program in Classical Art & Archaeology (IPCAA) at the University of Michigan, has spent his academic career excavating the past.
James credits his early education, beginning with taking Latin at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s, for kickstarting his interest in the ancient world. After graduating from St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s, James went on to Fordham Preparatory School before heading to Tufts University in Boston, where he earned his B.A. in Classical Studies (with an Architecture minor) in 2015 and his M.A. in Classical Archeology in 2017.
After experiencing his first excavation at Vinovium—a Roman fort in northern England—during his sophomore year at Tufts, he knew he was hooked on the art of the dig. “The whole experience in person is amazing. Actually doing the labor and extracting these pieces out of the ground is one of the most satisfying and fun things you could possibly do,” he says. “Being out in the field, the payoff is well worth the effort.” He has gone on to participate in excavations at Binchester in England, Cerro de la Muela: El Pulpon in Spain, Piano della Civita in Italy, and Saint Martin Island in France.
James’s work at the University of Michigan focuses on the Roman road networks of North Africa and their effects on social and economic changes in the region. Since 2016, he has taken part in the University of Michigan’s Gabii Project, an international archaeological initiative with the objective of studying and excavating the ancient Latin city of Gabii, a city-state that was both a neighbor of and a rival to Rome in the first millennium BC. In 2018, James became a member of the project’s field staff.
This past summer, James worked as a research assistant on a team photographing and cataloging some of the 40,000 ancient coins that are housed at the University of Michigan’s Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. He is hoping to return to work with the Gabii Project again this summer. Until then, he will be working on his dissertation.
To read James’s blog post outlining his work with ancient coins, please click here. Be sure to read to the end to see the unique coins that are his favorites!