S. Thomas Parker


Ph.D., University of California, LA 1979





Research: Roman history and archaeology; Roman army and frontiers; Roman Aqaba Project; Petra North Ridge Project

Personal Introduction

Professor Parker received his Ph.D. in history in 1979 from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has been a professor of history at NCSU since 1980. He has served on various archaeological expeditions in the Middle East since 1971. From 1979 to 1989 he directed the Limes Arabicus Project, which investigated the Roman frontier east of the Dead Sea. From 1994 to 2002 he directed the Roman Aqaba Project, excavation of a Roman port on the Red Sea and survey of its hinterland in southern Jordan. In 2012 he became Co-director of the Petra North Ridge Project in southern Jordan.

He has received many research grants and fellowships, including awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Geographic Society, Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and Joukowsky Family Foundation. His major publications include Romans and Saracens: A History of the Arabian Frontier (1986) and, as editor, The Roman Frontier in Central Jordan: Final Report on the Limes Arabicus Project, 1980-1989 (2006). He served as a coeditor of The Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World (2000). He has also published more than 100 articles and reviews. Since 1987 he has served as a trustee of the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman, Jordan and is now Second Vice President of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Fellowship Committee.

His goal in teaching is to stress to students that "We are what we were", i.e. that today's world is the product of a long historical process. In teaching the ancient history of the western world, he underscores the fact that the economic, social, and political systems, as well as the values, philosophies, and religions practiced today all have their roots in ancient history. Such fundamentally important elements of our culture, such as all three of the world's great monotheistic religions, artistic traditions, language and literacy, and even the Western concept of democracy all derive from the ancient world. In 2003 he received the Lonnie and Carol Poole Award for Excellence in Teaching from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and in 2009 was named Graduate Professor of the NCSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Archaeological Field Work and Publications

Co-director, The Petra North Ridge Project (fieldwork began in 2012). Field seasons planned for 2014 and 2016 (funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities).

Director, Roman Aqaba Project: The Economy of the Roman Port of Aila- fieldwork in 1994-2002, now in final publication, one volume published:

S. Thomas Parker and Andrew M. Smith II (eds.), The Roman Aqaba Project Final Report. Volume I: The Regional Environment and the Regional Survey. ASOR Archaeological Reports 19. Boston: American Schools of Oriental Research, 2013.

Director, Limes Arabicus Project: The Roman Frontier in Central Jordan (fieldwork 1980-1989). Final report published:
S. Thomas Parker (ed.), The Roman Frontier in Central Jordan: Final Report on the Limes Arabicus Project, 1980-1989. 2 vols. (Washington: Dumbarton Oaks, 2006).

Regional editor for the Levant in Richard J. A. Talbert, ed., Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. (Princeton: Princeton University, 2000).


Graduate Advisees

Recent Work & Publications

Contact Information

  • Office Location

    477 Withers Hall

  • Phone: 919.513.2223
  • Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Office Hours

    SPRING 2015


Current Semester

HI 207-002
T H   1015-1130
PS 130

HI 207-601

HI 405-001
M W   300-415PM
WI 160

HI 505-001
M W   300-415PM
WI 160

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350 Withers Hall, Campus Box 8108, Raleigh, NC 27695-8108
Phone: 919.515.2483 Fax: 919.515.3886

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of History