I am a scholar of classical antiquity. In my daily life, I investigate archaeological remains of and texts about urban life in Roman Italy, and I try to understand the social and economic history of urban communities from the late republic to the late imperial period - roughly from Hannibal to Constantine. I do this because I believe the Roman world is more than just fascinating - with its unique degrees of urbanization and integration it holds the key to answering important questions about world history in general: the Roman world does not easily fit into our historical models, and a better understanding of the Roman world and particularly its socio-economic history, may very well mean that we have to change our models - and our ideas about the history of human society with it. 

In the past, I was based at Radboud University Nijmegen, where I studied classics and completed my doctorate in classical archaeology. From 2010 until March 2013, I was at the University of Oxford as assistant director of the Oxford Roman Economy Project at the Faculty of Classics. Starting April 1st, 2013, I moved back to a Dutch academic environment:, where I am now working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for History at Leiden University on a project, Building Tabernae, for which I have been awarded an NWO VENI grant. This project will continue until 2017.

Pompeii, b: The marble impluvium - Constructed during the rebuilding of the house, when also the fullonica was built (Photo: Miko Flohr [2006])

Spring 2013 saw the publication of my first monographThe World of the Fullo, published by OUP. This book is based on my dissertation about the social and economic contexts of fulling in Roman Italy. Fullones (fullers) worked with woollen garments and made sure they were clean and looked accordingly; the evidence for fulling from Italy (concentrated in Pompeii, Rome and Ostia) shows the deep impact of specific local economic circumstances on patterns of investment and, thus, on the lives of people working in fulling workshops - to the extent that the workshops discovered in Rome and Ostia may, in some ways, be seen as 'factories' rather than simple workshops. They seem remarkably unparalleled elsewhere in the world before the Industrial Revolution: Rome does not fit.

In recent years, however, my work has branched out considerably, and I have focused on textile production, leatherwork and metal-manufacturing in the Roman world, on the economic history of manufacturing in general, and on Roman economic history in general. I have also spent considerable time on studying aspects of the economic history of Pompeii - a site that is, and will be, very central to my research, and about which I also co-edited - with Eric Poehler and Kevin Cole - a volume that appeared in 2011 - Pompeii. Art, Industry and Infrastructure.


Flohr, M. (2013). The World of the Fullo. Work, Economy and Society in Roman Italy. Oxford Studies on the Roman Economy. Oxford.
Poehler, E., M. Flohr and K. Cole (2011). Pompeii: Art, Industry, Infrastructure. Oxford.