John Dobbins

Man kneeling next to a column in the pompeii forum with a tape measure
Professor Emeritus, Roman Art and Archaeology
Person Type
Affiliated Faculty & Scholars

John Dobbins (Professor, Emeritus, McIntire Department of Art)  specializes in ancient Roman art, archaeology, architecture and urbanism. Since the 1990s he has been the Director of the Pompeii Forum Project, an internationally known interdisciplinary project that has been rewriting the history of the forum in Pompeii.  His 2007 co-edited book, The World of Pompeii, treats all aspects of Pompeian life.  Many of his specialized articles pertain to the forum at Pompeii.  Professor Dobbins is also a student of the houses and mosaics of Antioch (now Antakya, Turkey), the capital of the Roman province of Syria.  His chapter in Antioch: The Lost Ancient City deals with domestic architecture and mosaic pavements.

Professor Dobbins is a field archaeologist who has excavated in Spain, Italy (Tuscany, Pompeii, Morgantina), Greece, Syria, Massachusetts (Danvers Historical Society Excavation of the Samuel Parris House, Salem Village—the site where the Salem witch scare began!), and Virginia (rescue excavation at the Rotunda in 2001).  Collaborative work with 3D modeler, Ethan Gruber (formerly UVA Scholars’ Lab; currently American Numismatic Society), has demonstrated the utility of 3D models in archaeological research. Models of houses  Pompeii and  Antioch have been presented nationally and internationally, in order to recontextualize mosaics that had been lifted from their original architectural settings. Professor Dobbins served many years as President of the Charlottesville Society of the Archaeological Institute of America, and  has been a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at UVa.