About our staff
Dr Tanja Romankiewicz
Dr.-Ing. (PhD), Dipl.-Ing. (FH), FSA Scot
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow; Later Prehistory, Building Archaeology
I am an archaeologist interested in buildings, and an architect interested in the people of the past.
My first degrees from Cologne (Germany) are in architecture and architectural conservation. I gained my doctorate from the Technical University of Berlin (Germany) in collaboration with University of Edinburgh, undertaking an architectural analysis of prehistoric roundhouses in Scotland with focus on the stone-built brochs, the "towers" of the Scottish Iron Age. My post-doctoral research now investigates prehistoric timber houses, from Scotland to Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia and the European continent.
I have always been interested in interdisciplinary research between architecture and archaeology. During my architectural studies I worked on the presentation of a Roman municipium and garum manufactory in Andalusia, Spain, and studied Roman concrete in comparison with contemporary building techniques in northwest Europe.
Having joined the University of Edinburgh as a Career Development Fellow in 2013, and continued as a Research Assistant until April 2015, I have now embarked on a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship on the Building (Ancient) Lives project, in collaboration with architects, artists, local authorities and community projects.
I have also worked as a commercial buildings archaeologist with Addyman Archaeology, a division of the conservation architects Simpson & Brown, with whom I am still affiliated as a Honorary Consultant.
Honorary Consultant, Simpson & Brown with Addyman Archaeology
Edinburgh Research Explorer:
Summary of research interestsPlaces:
- Britain & Ireland
- Ancient Civilisations
- Landscapes & Monuments
- Material Culture
- Early Historic
As an archaeologist I am interested in the people of the past, their ideas, their relations, their interactions. As an architect I am interested in how people create, construct, use and abandon their buildings. The relation between people and built space is displayed in their architecture, and most intimately played out in their houses - their homes. I am studying prehistoric and Roman architecture as material culture – not simply as pragmatic or stylistic buildings, but emotionally charged spaces, as mediums to reflect identities.
My recent interest has been in Scottish later prehistory because of its wealth of architectural remains and modern high-quality excavation record. Stone-built houses in the Atlantic zone survive up to 13m in height; building stances are still visible in open settlements or hilltop enclosures, or as cropmarks in the fields. My aim is to use the methodology and results from my Scottish research to understand wider European patterns in prehistoric architecture to compare and contrast:
- design, ideas, creativity
- traditional building methods and developments: prehistoric, Roman, early medieval, analogies with later vernacular
- building materials
- building in the landscape and landscape as a resource
- contacts, identities, influences, potential and ambition expressed through architecture
Current research activities
Having completed an architectural analysis of prehistoric buildings in Northeast and Southeast Scotland, and feeding into the respective Regional Archaeological Research Frameworks, I am currently working on the Building (Ancient) Lives project as part of my Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship. By gaining new insights into ancient constructions and materials the aim is to inspire modern sustainable building and building materials.
Following on from my postgraduate research I am also interested in the regional and chronological variation of Roman building methods and use of materials.
Research results are feeding into various outreach projects. For more details see:
- Archaeology of Architecture (course organiser)
- Archaeology 2A: Scotland before History (contributor)
- Scottish Lowlands (course organiser)
- Space, Place and Time (course organiser)
- Scottish Lowlands (course organiser)
Books - Authored
Addyman, T., Romankiewicz, T., Ross, A., Macfadyen, K. and Uglow, N. (2013) The Medieval Kirk, Cemetery and Hospice at Kirk Ness, North Berwick: The Scottish Seabird Centre Excavations 1999-2006. Oxford: Oxbow Books
Romankiewicz, T. (2011) The complex roundhouses of the Scottish Iron Age: An architectural analysis of complex Atlantic roundhouses (brochs and galleried duns), with reference to wheelhouses and timber roundhouses. Oxford: Archaeopress
Books - Edited
Romankiewicz, T., Fernandez-Gotz, M., Lock, G. and Buchsenschutz, O. (eds.) (forthcoming) Enclosing Space, Opening New Ground: Iron Age studies from Scotland to Mainland Europe. Oxford: Oxbow Books
Romankiewicz, T. (2016) “Building (Ancient) Lives": New perspectives on the past for a sustainable future. The European Archaeologist, Spring 2016, pp. 25-30
Romankiewicz, T. (2013) Brochs: Architecture of a 2,500-year-old phenomenon. Current Archaeology, 28 no.10
Romankiewicz, T. (2009) Simple stones but complex constructions: Analysis of architectural developments in the Scottish Iron Age. World Archaeology, 41(3), pp. 379-395DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00438240903112278
Romankiewicz, T., Fernandez-Gotz, M., Lock, G. and Buchsenschutz, O. (forthcoming) Enclosing space and opening new ground in Iron Age studies: An introduction. In: Romankiewicz, T., Fernandez-Gotz, M., Lock, G. and Buchsenschutz, O. (eds.) Enclosing Space, Opening New Ground: Iron Age Studies from Scotland to Mainland Europe. Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. 1-5
Romankiewicz, T. (2018) Kühn im Konzept, phantasievoll mit Resourcen: Architektur-archäologische Analyse am Beispiel eisenzeitlicher Rundbauten in Schottland. In: Wefers, S., Balzer, I., Augstein, M., Fries-Knoblach, J., Later, C., Ludwig, K., Tappert, C., Trebsche, P. and Wiethold, J. (eds.) KunstHandWerk: Beitraege der 26. Tagung AG Eisenzeit gemeinsam mit der Keltenwelt am Glauberg und der hessenARCHAEOLOGIE im Landesamt fuer Denkmalpflege Hessen in Bad Salzhausen - 3.-6. Oktober 2013. Langenweissbach: Beier & Beran, Archäologische Fachliteratur, pp. 151-166DOI: https://doi.org/20.500.11820/4c6e301b-3c37-48b3-baaf-3fc31b25099d
Romankiewicz, T. (2017) Turf. In: Harkness, R. (ed.) Knowing from the inside: An Unfinished Compendium of Materials. Aberdeen: University of Aberdeen, pp. 196-201DOI: https://doi.org/20.500.11820/81c07426-1d64-4609-9ec2-25af663540c2
Murdoch, K. and Romankiewicz, T. (2014) The Post-medieval Glass. In: Moore, H. and Wilson, G. (eds.) Ebbing Shores: Survey and Excavation of Coastal Archaeology in Shetland 1995-2008. Edinburgh: Historic Scotland
Addyman, T., Romankiewicz, T. and Ross, A. (2013) Kirk Ness in the early medieval period. In: Addyman, T., Romankiewicz, T., Ross, A., Macfadyen, K. and Uglow, N. (eds.) The Medieval Kirk, Cemetery and Hospice at Kirk Ness, North Berwick: The Scottish Seabird Centre Excavations 1999-2006. Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. 23-50
Romankiewicz, T. and Addyman, T. (2013) The Iron Age. In: Addyman, T., Romankiewicz, T., Ross, A., Macfadyen, K. and Uglow, N. (eds.) The Medieval Kirk, Cemetery and Hospice at Kirk Ness, North Berwick: The Scottish Seabird Centre Excavations 1999-2006. Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. 19-22
Romankiewicz, T. (2011) Schottland, Die komplexen Rundhäuser der Eisenzeit: Die Architektur der "complex Atlantic roundhouses", "wheelhouses" und "timber roundhouses". In: Sack, D. (ed.) Jahrbuch MSD 2009-11. Schöneiche, Berlin: Scrîpvaz-Verlag, pp. 19
Romankiewicz, T. (2018) Pour une nouvelle conception de l’architecture domestique protohistorique métamorphosable dans le nord de la Grande Bretagne. In: Architectures de l'âge du Fer en Europe occidentale et centrale: Les actes de 40e colloque international de l'AFEAF. Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, pp. 619-623
Romankiewicz, T. (2018) Baumaterialien als Mittel zum (konstruktiven) Zweck und Ausdruck?: Römischer Beton als Fallstudie. In: Limes XXIII: Proceedings of the 23rd International Limes Congress of Roman Frontier Studies Ingolstadt 2015. Nünnerich-Asmus Verlag, pp. 587-594
Romankiewicz, T. (2018) Rounding up the roundhouses: What can the remains of the Birnie roundhouses tell us after excavation. In: Forgotten, Hidden & Lost: unearthing Moray's archaeology: Proceedings of the Elgin Museum Archaeology Conference 2017. Elgin: Moray Society, pp. 74-79
Romankiewicz, T. (2009) Architectural analysis of monumental motives: Towards a methodological investigation into Iron Age drystone roundhouses in Scotland: An interim's statement from an architectural perspective. In: Archaeotecture: Second Floor: Papers from the Archaeology of Architecture sessions held at the EAA meeting in St Petersburg (2003) and Lyon (2004). Oxford: Archaeopress, pp. 21-31