Dr Ioana Oltean

Research interests

The impact of Roman conquest on native societies

Ioana investigates transformations in social behaviour and identity of both native communities and immigrants visible in Dacia, Lower Moesia and Britain after the Roman conquest. Since 2004 she has led her own British Academy funded research project Contextualizing change on the Lower Danube: Roman impact on Daco-Getic landscapes. Using archaeological GIS data alongside epigraphic and artistic evidence she investigates whether specific trends in settlement, landuse and monumentality occur in Dacia and in Lower Moesia as a result of heavy colonisation supported by Roman political involvement (as traditional interpretations tend to favour) or whether they are a direct reflection of social stress created by migration and cultural contact.  

Between 2011 and 2015 she led the archaeological investigations of the late prehistoric and Romano-British settlement at Ipplepen (South Devon).

Since 2013 she is co-director of the research programme of Colonia Dacica Sarmizegetusa (Romania).

Settlement patterns and GIS

Ioana researches the process of settlement aggregation and evolution, in terms of function and status, as expressed by the organisation of space; architecture; and the position of settlements within the natural and social landscape in the late prehistory and early historical periods. More recently she completed the GIS mapping and analysis of 4500 sq km of the late prehistoric, Hellenistic and Roman landscape of Southern Dobrogea, Romania and collaborated with Dr G Juleff (Exeter) and Dr Sharada Srinivasan (Bangalore) on GIS development for their project "Pioneering metallurgy: the origins of iron and steel making in the Southern Indian subcontinent".

Aerial and satellite remote sensing in archaeology

Ioana investigates large archaeological landscapes based on the analysis of aerial imagery of various types and acquisition dates and from various sources: oblique aerial photographs obtained through archaeological aerial reconnaissance; WWII military vertical photographs of the RAF, USAF and Luftwaffe; Romanian archive vertical aerial photography; and declassified Cold War (CORONA) and recently acquired satellite imagery. Since 1998, she has been involved in establishing aerial reconnaissance in Romania as a standard method of archaeological prospection (Transylvania during 1998-2004 and 2010; Southern Dobrogea 2005-6, 2008 and 2011-2013; Crisana 2006; ) in collaboration with Prof. W.S. Hanson (University of Glasgow). 

She collaborates with, and advises on aerial and satellite remote sensing aspects a number of research projects and institutions in the UK, Romania, India and the USA. Between 2010-2015 Ioana was part of Archaeolanscapes Europe network funded by EU (FP7) and is currently the institutional contact person for ArcLand International network.

Research collaborations

Since 1998 Dr Ioana Oltean undertakes aerial reconnaissance in Romania . Ioana is part of ArcLand International network (formerly Archaeolanscapes Europe network funded between 2010-2015 by EU).

Between 2011-2015 Ioana was the leader of the Ipplepen Archaeological Project. A collaboration with British MuseumPortable Antiquities Scheme and Devon County Council Historic Environment Office, this project included a summer archaeological field school and provided extensive opportunities for volunteering and wider dissemination for the local community and beyond.

 Since 2013 Ioana is co-directing the archaeological investigations at Colonia Dacica Sarmizegetusa (Romania).Currently investigations focus on the palace of the financial procurator of Dacia and include summer school opportunities for advanced student training as part of the Erasmus+ project From Theory to Practice - International Teaching in Field Archaeology in Roman Sarmizegetusa (FIT in Archaeology). This is a collaboration with The National Museum of Transylvanian History (Cluj Napoca, Romania), Babes-Bolyai University (Cluj Napoca, Romania), Heidelberg University (Germany) and University of Vienna (Austria).