Photo of Professor Elena Isayev

Professor Elena Isayev

Associate Professor


Extension: 4200

Telephone: 01392 724200

Current Project with the community in Swansea on ideas of Place and Mobility: Future Memory in Place (funded by the AHRC Beyond Text Scheme) see project website and blog for latest events:

It is based on my latest research for a book:

Paradoxes of Place: Pausing Motion in Ancient Italy.

The aim is to understand the nature of human mobility in, and through, Italy in the last 500 years BC, and in light of the high levels of population movement, to make explicit what a 'constructed' nature of place means and how the mechanism of its construction affects community membership and identity.


I am a historian who uses the ancient Mediterranean, and in particular Italy, as a way to explore questions about society, belonging and perception. My research and teaching interests range from reconstructing histories of pre-Roman groups in south Italy, by using the rich material remains (Lucania 2006), to deconstructing theories of generation conflict and youth in republican Rome (in Historia 2007). The aim of these investigations is to challenge preconceived ideas and stereotypes within and about ancient society, and the effect that these have on our understanding of the contemporary world. I am a keen supporter of interdisciplinary initiatives, and have organised workshops on peace, poverty, and suicide, and most recently I am co-directing the Migrations Network at Exeter. I am currently the Main Investigator on a project, De-Placing Future Memory, with the AHRC Beyond Text scheme. Click here for the main project site or click here for a link to the project's interactive website. I am also actively engaged in archaeological field work with excavations in Italy and currently Kazakhstan.

The courses which I teach reflect many of these interests and encourage the integration of different forms of evidence and models in creating an image of the past, particularly in the MA entitled Alternative Histories through Art and Archaeology. I am also preparing a course on resistance in the ancient world.

Many of my own stereotypes have been broken since living in the South-West where I have discovered the joys of surfing, mushroom picking and moor walking, especially in the snow.