Alejandro G. Sinner

Alejandro G.  Sinner
Associate Professor and Undergraduate Adviser
Office: Clearihue B423

PhD (Barcelona)

Area of expertise

Research focus: the study of ancient colonialism and the social, economic and cultural history of the Iberian Peninsula during the Iron Age and the Roman era. Most notably, mobility and demography, religion, daily practices, cultural change and identity formation, pre-Roman languages, archaeometry, and archaeological method and theory.


I study this long and complex period by working with the material culture left behind by the inhabitants of these territories, such as architecture, numismatics, ceramics, faunal remains, inscriptions, and more. Archaeology is a powerful tool in understanding colonial encounters. It provides a voice to those otherwise forgotten and/or misrepresented by the Greek and Roman sources. My main research interests include:

  1. How the Roman conquest and varied interactions with Indigenous Iberian communities led to cultural change, the formation and negotiation of provincial identities, and the construction of a multicultural Roman Empire.
  2. Exploring how the establishment of an ancient Mediterranean market, as well as technological advances, created colonial economies that powered unequal socio-economic relationships of domination and exploitation between colonizers and colonized.

Since 2006 I have been digging at the site of Ilduro (Cabrera de Mar, Catalonia) in northeastern Spain, where I am also directing a research project and leading an international archaeological field school.

I am happy to supervise Master’s theses in any of my areas of expertise. However, due to time and resources I am devoting most of my time to my on-going research projects (see below); I am especially interested in supervising theses dealing with mobility, ancient demography, archaeometric analysis of black gloss ceramics and lead objects and daily practices and cultural change in the Western Mediterranean.

 Accepting MA students

Select Publications by Research Area:

Books are bolded; Forth = forthcoming publication

Religion, Daily Practices & Cultural Change

  • Sinner, A. G. and Revilla, V. (forth.) Rural Religion in the Western Mediterranean: Materiality, Spaces, Dynamics. In Roman Rural Archaeology, edited by G. Tol and A. Van Oyen, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Sinner, A. G. and Revilla, V. (eds.) (2022) Religion in a Microcontinent: Cult Places, Identities and Cultural Exchange in Hispania, Brepols: Archaeology of the Mediterranean World, vol. 1
  • Sinner, A. G. and Revilla, V. (2022) Religious practices and rural cult sites in Hispania Citerior: some methodological reflections. In Religion in a Microcontinent: Cult Places, Identities and Cultural Exchange in Hispania, edited by A.G. Sinner and V. Revilla, Brepols: Archaeology of the Mediterranean World, vol. 1, 65-78.
  • Sinner, A. G., Nieto-Espinet, A. and Valenzuela-Lamas, S. (2021) Same language, different diet: dynamics and rhythms of change in Ancient Ilduro (Cabrera De Mar, Barcelona) based on epigraphic and faunal evidence. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 2, 193-224
  • Sinner, A. G. and Revilla, V. (2017) Rural religion, religious places and local identities in Hispania: the sanctuary at Can Modolell (Cabrera de Mar, Barcelona). Journal of Roman Archaeology 30, 267-282
  • Sinner, A. G. and Ferrer, J. (2016) Del oppidum de Burriac a las termas de Ca l’Arnau. Una aproximación a la lengua y la identidad de los habitantes de Ilduro (Cabrera de Mar, Barcelona). Archivo Español de Arqueología 89, 193-223
  • Sinner, A. G. (2015) Cultural contacts and identity construction: a colonial context in NE Spain (2nd – early 1st c. B.C.). Journal of Roman Archaeology 28, 7-37

 Mobility & Demography

  • Sinner, A. G. (forth.) Emigration from Italy to Hispania: migration, scale and origin of the migrants. In The Cambridge History of Ancient Iberia, edited by F.Pina Polo, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Sinner, A. G., Carreras, C. and Houten, P. (forth.) Demography.  In The Cambridge History of Ancient Iberia, edited by F.Pina Polo, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Sinner, A. G., Carreras, C. and Houten, P. (2024) The Human Factor: the Demography of Hispania Citerior/Tarraconensis. Oxford University Press
  • Sinner, A. G. (2024) Human Mobility between Italy and North-eastern Hispania during the Late Republican Period. In Connectivity and Mobility in the Ancient Western Mediterranean edited by L. Gosner and J. Hayne, Equinox: Monographs in Mediterranean Archaeology, 57-82.
  • Carreras, C. and Sinner, A. G. (2024) Población. In Economía de la Hispania romana: Paisajes de producción y dinámicas comerciales, edited by J. Molina, O. Olesti, V. Revilla and C. Carreras. Barcelona
  • Sinner, A. G. and Carreras, C. (2019) Methods of palaeodemography: the case of the Iberian oppida and Roman cities in north-eastern Spain. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 38(3), 302-324

 Iberian Peoples

  • Sinner, A. G. and Grau, I. (forth.) The Iberians: Societies, Cultures, and Landscapes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Element Series
  • Sinner, A. G. and Grau, I. (forth.) The Iberians: A Mosaic of Mediterranean Peoples. In The Oxford Handbook of the Mediterranean Iron Age, edited by S. Bernard and S. Murray, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Sinner, A. G. and Ferrer, J. (2022) Rock Sanctuaries, Sacred Landscapes and the Making of the Iberian Pantheon, Religions, 13, 722
  • Sinner, A. G. and Ferrer, J. (2020) Baitolo, a native shipowner’s vessel, and the participation of northern Iberians in the Laietanian wine-trade under the Late Republic. Journal of Roman Archaeology 33, 365-382
  • Sinner, A. G. and Velaza, J. (eds.) (2019) Palaeohispanic Languages and Epigraphies, Oxford: Oxford University Press / ISBN: 9780198790822
  • Sinner, A. G. and Velaza, J. (2018) Epigraphy: The Palaeohispanic Languages. In Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology, edited by C. Smith. Springer: Cham (on-line)

 Archaeological Science

  • Rodríguez, J., Sinner, A. G., Martínez Chico, D., and Santos Zalduegui, J. (2023) Metal provenance and distribution at the Roman foundry of Fuente Spitz (Spain): Application of the AMALIA algorithm to lead isotopes analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports Volume 51, 104192
  • Pagliantini, L., Madrid i Fernández, M., Bernard, S., Camporeale, S., Mascione, C., Buxeda, J., Sinner, A. G. (2022) Archaeometric Characterization of Black Gloss Ware from Populonia (Tuscany): Imported Pottery and Local Production of the Atelier des Petites Estampilles. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Volume 41, 103306
  • Sinner, A. G., Ferrante, M., Nisi, S. and Trincherini, P. R. (2020) Lead Isotope Evidence of Lead Supply in Ancient Ilduro (Second-First centuries B.C.E.). Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 12, article 131
  • Stannard, C., Sinner, A. G. and Ferrante, M. (2019) Trade between Minturnae and Hispania in the Late Republic. A Comparative Analysis of the Minturnaean Lead Issues and the Spanish Plomos Monetiformes of the Italo-Baetican Series, and the Numismatic and Epigraphic Evidence of the Trade. The Numismatic Chronicle 179, 123-171
  • Madrid, M. and Sinner, A. G. (2019) Analyzing technical choices: improving the archaeological classification of Late Republican Black Gloss pottery in north-eastern Hispania consumption centers. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 11, 3155-3186


  • Sinner, A. G. and Campo, M. (2023) Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Italia. Florence, National Archaeological Museum. I, 1, Hispania, Warsaw
  • Ripollès, P. P. and Sinner, A. G. (2019) Coin Evidence for Ancient Hispanic Languages. In Palaeohispanic Languages and Epigraphies, edited by A.G. Sinner and J. Velaza, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 367-392
  • Sinner, A. G. (2017) La ceca de Ilduro, Oxford: Archaeopress Archaeology, 29
  • Sinner, A. G. (ed.) (2012) La moneda de los íberos. Ilturo y los talleres layetanos, Barcelona: Norprint S.A.

Current Research Projects:

1. The Ilduro Archaeological Project

Archaeology is the only source of evidence for life at the local scale in the classical world. The exploration of individual households provides fascinating insights into the complex lives of their inhabitants, and into how both individuals and groups used artifacts to create their identities within the broader context of Roman power structures. The aim of the Ilduro Archaeological Project (IAP) is to redefine perceptions about how each Roman provincial community had its roots in a unique and dynamic, social and cultural heterogeneous milieu. This diverse composition allows us to trace a wide range of social, economic and cultural practices within the archaeological record. We aim to trace and understand, if never totally reconstruct, these practices and their evolution through time at two different levels: the household and the settlement. The Ilduro Archaeological Project is Interdisciplinary and diachronic in nature. It combines the study of epigraphy and numismatics, art and architecture, and history and archaeology over several centuries. Our theoretical approach is to understand change that does not rely or depend on abstractions and grand narratives such as Romanization. We want to document daily life and everyday practices: to see how things were made, exchanged, used and consumed, and to see what patterns emerge.

The project includes the excavation of the following archaeological sites:

Excavations at ancient Ilduro (Cabrera de Mar) Catalonia, Spain (2014-present).

Sanctuary of Can Modolell (Cabrera de Mar) Catalonia, Spain (2017-present).

2. Mediterranean Connectivity: Economy, Trade and Commercial Circuits in the Roman West (2nd c. BCE --1st c. CE)

This interdisciplinary project aims to contribute to elucidate the integral role of trade and supply in Rome’s global empire by employing techniques associated with archaeometry to the study of ceramic and lead objects.

By documenting and quantifying new archaeological evidence for contacts, commercial circuits and trade networks between the principal confederations of southern Gaul (France), Hispania Citerior (Spain), and the peoples of the Italian peninsula during the late Roman Republic and the transition into the Empire (2nd-1st c. B.C.E.), the project explores the extent to which this ancient global market created asymmetrical socio-economic relationships of domination and exploitation between and within production and consumption centers.

3. The 'Ses Llumetes' Wreck (Porto Cristo, Majorca): Trade, Shipbuilding and Technology in the Western Mediterranean during the 1st century CE

The project will excavate a well preserved 1st c. BCE Roman wreck – the Ses Llumetes – and it will study two basic elements of any ancient or modern society: trade and technology.

The project has four scientific objectives: 1) Excavating this exciting new discovery; 2) Studying the cargo to determine the exact chronology of the vessel, the route it followed and the type of products that it carried; 3) Studying shipbuilding techniques: the set of technical and architectural solutions employed by the shipyard will be determined thanks to the exceptional preservation of the hull and other wooden components of the wreck; 4) Studying Roman concrete: the Ses Llumetes is the first wreck ever documented carrying volcanic tephra (perhaps pozzolana). Our team will conduct experimental work with this type of pumice, revealing the secrets of (volcanic) glass performance in Roman marine concrete and the keys that ensured its longterm durability.