John Peter Oleson, an archaeologist and Classics scholar, is Professor in the Dept. of Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Victoria, where he has taught since 1976. He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He served eight years as Chair of the Department. He is a Fe...
John Peter Oleson, an archaeologist and Classics scholar, is Professor in the Dept. of Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Victoria, where he has taught since 1976. He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He served eight years as Chair of the Department. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Board member of the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman and of the American Schools of Oriental Research in Canada. From 1997 to 2001 he was a member of Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He was appointed a Killam Research Fellow for 2000-2002. In 2003 he was appointed Distinguished Professor of Greek and Roman Studies, the highest academic honour the university can bestow. In November 2010 the Royal Society of Canada awarded Oleson the Pierre Chauveau Medal "for a distinguished contribution to knowledge in the Humanities."
Prof. Oleson's research focuses on ancient technology, particularly ships, harbours, and water-supply systems. He has published 11 books and over 70 articles and chapters in the areas of maritime archaeology, ancient technology, the Roman Near East, Etruscan tombs, numismatic art and related subjects. His most recent books are Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008 (865 pp., 150 illus.; editor), Deep-Water Shipwrecks off Skerki Bank: The 1997 Survey. Journal of Roman Archaeology, Suppl. 58. Portsmouth R.I., 2004 (224 pp., 228 illus.; co-author), and Greek and Roman Technology: A Sourcebook. London: Routledge, 1997 (xxiv + 624 pp.; co-author), and several long chapters in Handbook of Ancient Water Technology (Leiden: Brill, 1999).
Prof. Oleson has directed or participated in underwater excavations at a number of Roman harbour sites in Italy and Israel, and between 1986 and 2006 he directed excavations at the site of Humayma, ancient Hawara, a small caravan stop in Jordan's southern desert. Since 2001 he has co-directed the Roman Hydraulic Concrete Study (ROMACONS), which has taken cores of concrete from Roman maritime structures around the Mediterranean for engineering analysis. He is also a member of the team of archaeologists that used a nuclear submarine and remotely operated vehicles to survey and excavate deep water Roman shipwrecks at Skerki Bank in the Mediterranean in 1997.
Over the past 25 years Prof. Oleson has given more than 150 public presentations to scholarly conferences and local archaeological societies. He is very interested in cultural resource management, and for eight years he served on the Board of the Royal British Columbia Museum. Prof. Oleson is committed to publicizing and preserving the core values of the Humanities, and to furthering humanistic research and teaching through the use of the latest technologies. His hobbies are aerobatic flying, boating, and SCUBA diving.