Laurel Taylor, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer of Classics & Art

Contact Information

  • 828-251-6290
  • 127A Whitesides Hall

Office Hours

  • Monday 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  • Wednesday 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  • Thursday 8:00 am - 9:00 am
  • Note: Office hours are via Zoom and by appointment.

Laurel Taylor is Senior Lecturer in the Departments of Art and of Classics. Her research interests include funerary ritual and commemoration and rural archaeology. Dr. Taylor’s current archaeological fieldwork is at the Etruscan and Roman site of Cetamura del Chianti, Italy. Dr. Taylor has also directed excavations at the UNC Asheville field school at Palazzaccio, a Roman period farmhouse located outside of Lucca, Italy, and part of the UNESCO ‘Project of 100 Roman Farms’. Previously Dr. Taylor worked with the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell's excavations at a palace of Herod the Great in Caesarea Maritima, Israel and has published preliminary studies on the mosaic and fresco remains from the palace. Dr. Taylor is president of the Western North Carolina chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America.


  • Ph.D., Mediterranean Archaeology
    University of Pennsylvania
  • B.A., International Studies
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Recent Courses Taught

  • CLAS 101: Latin I
  • CLAS 102: Latin II
  • CLAS 373: Early Christian Archaeology
  • CLAS 373: Italian Archaeology
  • CLAS 374: Field Methods in Archaeology (Italy)
  • CLAS 379: Classics in Film

Teaching and Research Interests

Dr. Taylor's Ph.D. and scholarly interests concern the diffusion of the Roman funerary monument throughout the Roman provinces, the ways in which the habit of erecting a permanent memorial are assimilated by local cultures and how these local cultures form their own unique patterns of commemoration. Teaching interests include the Classics in film, archaeology, art and Latin.

Selected Publications

  • Review, American Journal of Archaeology: A Companion to the Etruscans. Edited by Sinclair Bell and Alexandra A. Carpino (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World).  Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, N.J. 2016.
  • Contributing author and editor, Wells of Wonders: New Discoveries at Cetamura del Chianti, ed. Nancy T. de Grummond, Catalog of the Exhibition June 9-September 30, 2017 Florence, National Archaeological Museum (Edifir) 2017
  • L. Taylor ed. Artisans and Craft in Ancient Etruria: A Symposium in Honor of Nancy de Grummond (EtrStud 17.2) De Gruyter: 2015
  • ​"Religion and Industry at Cetamura del Chianti in the Late Etruscan Period" ES 18.2 (2015) 126-150.
  • Review of Andrew M. Madden, Corpus of Byzantine Church Mosaic Pavements from Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Colloquia antiqua, 13. Leuven; Paris; Walpole, MA: Peeters, 2014.
  • "Performing the Prothesis: Gender, Gesture, Ritual and Role on the Chiusine Reliefs from Archaic Etruria." Etruscan Studies (17.1) 2014: 1-27.
  • Review of J Mander Portraits of Children on Roman Funerary Monuments (Cambridge 2012) The Classical Review / Volume 63 / Issue 02 / , pp 576-578.
  • Review of Hasmonean and Herodian Palaces at Jericho. Final Reports of the 1973-1987 Excavations, Volume 4:The Decoration of Herod's Third Palace at Jericho by Silvia Rozenberg, published in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 368 (November 2012), pp. 118-120.
  • Contributor. "Etruscan Art." 2012-2014. (Open source, not-for-profit art history textbook.)
  •  In progress: An archaeology of childhood: symbolism and sentiment in the funerary monuments of Roman children
  • Forthcoming: “The Mosaic and Fresco Remains from Herod’s Palace and the Roman Praetorium at Caesarea Marittima,” in Excavations at the Promontory Palace at Caesarea Marittima: Final Report
  • "Mourning Becomes Etruria: Ritual, Performance and Iconography in the Seventh and Sixth Centuries,” Journal of Etruscan Studies vol.14 (2011) 91-106
  • Invited reviewer, Oxford University Press, 2011 (review of book proposal on Roman Art)
  • “The Late Roman Mosaics of the Upper Promontory Palace,” in Gleason et al. “The University of Pennsylvania Museum Excavations of the Promontory Palace at Caesarea Marittima 1990-1996: Preliminary Report,” Journal of Roman Archaeology vol. 11 (1998) 23-52
  • Review of P. Kiernan Miniature Votive Offerings in the Roman North-West (Mainz 2010) in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2011.03.57
  • Invited reviewer, Blackwell publishing, 2006 (review of in-progress work on Roman archaeology)
  • “Excavations at the 'Project of 100 Roman Farms', Lucca, Italy: The 2006-2008 seasons at Palazzaccio," The Journal of Fasti Online 2010 (primary author)
  • “Palazzaccio: 2005 Excavations," in Le Dimore dell'Auser: Archeologia, Architettura, ed Ambiente dell'antico lago di Sesto (Lucca 2005) 85-90
  • “Provinces and problems: demographics and ritual in Roman funerary customs,” in Proceedings from the Boston University Symposium on the Archaeology of Ritual, Boston University, (Boston 1997)
  • et al. Reviving Vitruvius—Editions of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, (Philadelphia 1996).
  • "Performing the Prothesis: Gender, Ritual and Role on the Chiusine Reliefs from Archaic Etruria," Journal of Etruscan Studies 17.1 (2014) 1-27.

Selected Papers

  • Ecofacts in Context: Ritual Uses of Plant and Animal Products at Cetamura del Chianti," invited panelist on Etruscan Ritual in Context, Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting, Boston, January 2018.
  • 'Reading the ritual':Representation and Meaning on an Etruscan Funerary Monument in Perugia, at the Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting, Toronto (January 2017).
  • "Death on Display: 'Breaking Bad' with Etruscan funerary imagery" as part of the "Breaking Bad in Italian Visual Culture: colloquium at the 2016 SECAC (Southeastern College Art Association Conference) meeting in Roanoke, October 19-22.
  • "Religion and Industry at Cetamura del Chianti in the Late Etruscan Period." Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting. New Orleans, January 2015.
  • "Between Life and Death: Funerary Ritual and the Animated Portrait in Ancient Rome." SECAC, October 2013.
  • "Constructing childhood in ancient art." Southeastern College Art Association Annual Meeting, Durham, October 2012.
  • "Miniature votives from the Etruscan sanctuary at Cetamura del Chianti." Archaeological Institute of American Annual MeetingPhiladelphia 2012.
  • “Mourning becomes Etruria: Status, Gender and Mortuary Ritual in Early Etruscan Society,” CAMWS Southern Section Meeting, Richmond VA 2010.
  • “Think of the Children!”: Commemorating the Young in North Italian Funerary Monuments,” Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting, Philadelphia 2009.
  • “The 2008 Excavation Campaign at the 'Project of 100 Roman Farms,' Lucca, Italy,” CAMWS Southern Section Meeting, Asheville 2008.
  • "Scavi e ricerche nel complesso di Palazzaccio al 'Progetto di Cento Fattorie Romane, Lucca" Convegno di Archeologia di Nord-Toscana 2008, Lucca, Italy (*invited speaker).
  • “Excavations at the 'Project of 100 Roman Farms,' Lucca, Italy: The 2005 and 2006 Seasons at 'Palazzaccio' ,” Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting, San Diego 2007.
  • “Communicating difference: some uses of style in Roman funerary images,” CAMWS Annual Meeting, Gainesville, 2006.
  • “Excavations at Herod’s Palace, Caesarea Marittima,” Archaeological Institute of America, Western Carolina Society, Asheville, 2004.
  • “Identity display in funerary monuments of Roman Venetia,” Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting, New Orleans LA, 2003.
  • “Standing out against the crowd: funerary monuments and self-representation in Roman Venetia,” Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting, San Diego CA 2001.
  • “Dying like a Roman: funerary practices and the formation of provincial material culture in the Roman empire,” University of Delaware, History Workshop in Technology, Society and Culture, 1999.
  • “Funerary Production and Commemoration in Regio X, Italy,” Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting, Washington DC 1998.
  • “The Mosaic Decoration at Herod’s Promontory Palace, Caesarea Marittima,” American Schools of Oriental Research Annual Meeting, Napa Valley 1997.
  • “Provinces and problems: demographics and ritual in Roman Funerary Customs,” Boston University, Archaeology of Ritual Conference, Boston 1997.
  • “Late Antique Mosaics from the Promontory Palace, Caesarea Marittima,” Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting, Chicago 1997.
  • “The Gallienic ‘renaissance’: retrospection and allegory in the portraiture of Gallienus,” Classical Association Annual Meeting, Southern Section, Chapel Hill, 1995.


  • Co-Director: UNCA/NYU Excavations at Palazzaccio, ‘Project of 100 Roman Farms’ Lucca, Italy
  • Field Director: FSU/NYU/UNCA Cetamura del Chianti, Italy Project and Field School.
  • University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University Excavations at Caesarea Marittima, Israel. Directors: Kathryn Gleason and Barbara Burrell. Section supervisor and conservator, 1995; Mosaicist
  • ASU Archaeology Lab, Biltmore Excavations, Asheville, NC 2002. Director: Larry Kimball.