Book of Remembrance of

Professor-Keay-FBA2 (2)

Professor Simon Keay FBA

Professor of Archaeology at the University of Southampton, Fellow of the British Academy and Research Professor at the British School at Rome, Simon was a renowned expert in ports, commerce, urbanism and culture in the early Roman Mediterranean. His written legacy includes 10 books, as author or co-author, 12 edited books, and more than 200 papers. As part of his research, Simon led several extensive archaeological surveys in the Mediterranean, including the Ager Tarraconensis in Catalonia and a number of Roman towns in the Tiber Valley. In particular, he was well known as Director of the Portus Project – a body of research exploring and surveying the ancient port of Rome and its connection with Mediterranean trading networks. The project prompted numerous high-profile media appearances and played a significant role in the Italian Government’s decision to make Portus an integral part of one of its largest and most-visited archaeological parks, Parco Archeologico di Ostia Antica.


A greatly respected leader and highly valued colleague of more than 30 years at The University of Southampton, Simon was Head of Archaeology twice and more recently assumed the role of Associate Dean for Research within Humanities. He retired from the University in the summer of 2020.

Book Owner: Alistair Pike
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Jim Marshall

I enrolled in Simon’s online course on Portus, which I greatly enjoyed! I followed this up with a site visit when in Rome for Italy v Scotland rugby match. Thanks to Simon’s enthusiasm and knowledge, I plan to visit Isola Sacra in 2022. So sad to hear of Simon’s untimely death.       …


Lynne McGregor MBE

I was deeply saddened to learn of the premature death of Simon Keay. I met Simon when I was working at the British Embassy in Rome as Visits Officer and organised a visit, together with the British School at Rome, for HRH Princess Alexandra, President of the BSR, to Portus.  Simon led the visit, …


Jaco Weinstock

Simon was one of the first people I met in the Department when I arrived at Southampton in 2000. His kindness, enthusiasm and knowledge made  a strong impression on me then, which only became accentuated as I got to know him more over the years. He will be so sorely missed.  …


Peter Wheeler

Simon and Portus were the reason I came to Southampton and shaped so much of my life for many years. I feel privileged to have studied under him and work alongside him. He gave time and encouragement to everyone who sought from him. Always positive and smiling, even when stuck out in torrential rains …


Alison Gascoigne

Simon was my mentor when I was appointed as a rather inexperienced lecturer at Southampton back in 2007. He gave me much good career advice in those early years (and I wish I had been successful in following more of it). He occupied the office next door to my own, and I quickly became …


Chris Elmer

My memories of Simon, firstly in my encounters with him whilst pursuing my PhD and laterly whilst teaching in the department are dominated by the fact that he was always ready to smile and nod in my direction, as well as chat about work and life in general, which I later realised absolutely represented …


Christopher Haddad and Ellen Ryan

I first heard Simon speak on a documentary about Portus, a topic for which he had great passion and made remarkable advancements. When I arrived at the BSR I did not expect such a “big name” to be so open, generous, and willing to have a drink and a laugh with a student such …


Sue Russell

Simon was a valued colleague at The British School at Rome during the years he served as Professor of Archaeology. Kind and generous – he gave up most of one of his precious days to lead a memorable visit to Portus for scholars, residents and staff in 2008 – and eminent, of course, in …


Lea Beness and Tom Hillard

What a life to celebrate! Aside from his extraordinary academic energy, we shall always remember his generosity of spirit. We saw his support for students and personally enjoyed his earnest encouragement with regard to our own projects. It’s really difficult to imagine not seeing Simon at the BSR again and chatting over dinner. Such …


Duncan Keenan-Jones

I will always remember Simon as a fun and kind individual, who, despite his intimidating productivity and the pressures of his busy schedule, was always very generous with his time and knowledge and appeared relaxed and warm. His example is something I seek to emulate in my own life. I was happily awaiting many …


Sonia Zakrzewski

What can I say? There aren’t any suitable words to write that express how I feel. Simon has always been a big part of the department. Whether it was having coffee or simply talking archaeology, Simon was always a cheerful face – and usually he was juggling several phone conversations in multiple languages too! …


Kristian Strutt

Simon had an immense impact on all of the students and colleagues around him. His generosity of spirit and approachable nature were backed up by a limitless knowledge of Roman and Mediterranean archaeology. As a colleague, Simon was always incredibly supportive. In the projects where I worked with him, since 1998, at Portus and …


Fraser Sturt

Like many others whom i’ve spoken with lately, I will remember Simon for his kindness and generosity of spirit, both as a mentor and colleague.  Simon was a phenomenal archaeologist who passed his enthusiam onto others easily.  This not only inspired lots of students, but staff as well.  He certainly had a big impact …


Stephen Kay

Simon’s name is written into the archaeological records here in Italy through this classification of amphorae. He always seemed somewhat embarrassed by this when students and colleagues met him for the first time and asked him to look at some fragment of amphorae. But Simon took this in his stride with that glint in …


Graeme Earl

As for so many people, Simon was at the heart of my career. This started before I was accepted on my degree programme, lasted throughout my studies, on fieldwork across the Mediterranean, in a succession of jobs, is true today, and will be tomorrow. He was an extraordinary polymath and communicator, who inspired, encouraged and …


Felix Pirson

I am deeply schocked by the premature death of our friend Simon Keay. He was a particularly loveable colleague and a true academic gentleman. His outstanding achievements in Roman archaeology and his enthusiastic support of international cooperation and exchange combined with the support of forthcoming academic generations is a legacy to all of us. …


Penny Copeland

Working with Simon was an education in itself – he was so hugely respected in his field of Roman archaeology. He was more than that, of course, he was a very central part of a close archaeological family. I worked with Simon for nearly 20 years initially illustrating hundreds of amphora for the Amphora …

Penny Copeland

Anna Collar

Since joining Southampton’s Archaeology department a couple of years ago, I have had the pleasure and privilege to begin to get to know Simon. We laughed at how we were both technological dinosaurs when trying to learn how to use Blackboard together, and he has been a very supportive, calming influence on me as …


Denis McManus

In addition to being such a distinguished scholar, Simon was also a great pleasure to work with, and it is deeply sad that he has died so very young. …


Alistair Pike

I am deeply saddened by the loss of Simon. It is rare to meet such a renowned scholar who has the humility and generosity that Simon did, and from which his colleagues and students benefited so much. His scholarship, leadership and support over the decades has played such a significant role in making the …


Dragana Mladenovic

As the shock of Simon’s passing starts to wear off the enormity of the loss becomes more acute, particularly for those who had been fortunate enough to work closely with him, and learn from him. The void that he leaves in Roman studies is vast in scope and depth, one feels it’s bigger than …


Sarah Flynn

I was very saddened to hear the news about Simon’s death. I worked with him for a number of years when I was an HR Manager for the Faculty. He was always good humoured, kind and patient. He also was very appreciative and grateful, which meant a lot. A fond memory that will remain …


Nicky Marsh

I knew Simon as a colleague in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. He was, on every occasion, generous, reflective and thoughtful. When I took over a role that he had previously held, at quite short notice, he was warm and supportive and his presence and advice were always very much appreciated. I was …


Cristina Corsi

Simon was a dear friend, always ready to support our initiatives. Even when he was tired and overworked, he did not refuse an invitation to attend meetings even in remote places. He crossed Europe to spend a couple of days of intense work with his colleagues, without ever showing fatigue or condescension. He found …


Frank Vermeulen

I have known Simon personally as a colleague archaeologist for almost 30 years and all academic contacts and cooperation, but also the many gatherings on the edge of this, I remember as extremely pleasant. In addition to being an exceptionally gifted and clever scientist, Simon was also an incredibly kind and sensitive man. We …


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