Dr Rebecca Darley


I am a historian of material culture, specialising in the period c. 250-750 in the East Mediterranean and western Indian Ocean. I completed my BA training in History at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where I developed an interest in Byzantine history and spent time in the Department of Coins and Medals at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

In 2008 I joined the University of Birmingham, where I completed my MA in Greek Archaeology, continuing to work closely with numismatic evidence. I remained at Birmingham for my doctoral studies, working with Prof. Leslie Brubaker and Dr Archie Dunn on Indo-Byzantine exchange in the 4th-8th centuries. During this time I travelled extensively in south India and am grateful to the many museums, collectors and archeologists who made available their collections and expertise.

Following my PhD I spent a year as exhibition curator of the coin collection of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts (Birmingham), before taking up a research position in the international ‘Bilderfahrzeuge’ group at the Warburg Institute. In 2015 I joined the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck, where I am a lecturer in medieval history, focussing my teaching particularly on exploring a global early Middle Ages, and training students in material cultural approaches.


Selected publications

'Art and Representation' (2018) in R. Naismith (ed.) The Bloomsbury Cultural History of Medieval Money, London: Bloomsbury Publishing, pagination TBC.

'Seen from across the sea: India in the Byzantine worldview', in L. Brubaker, R. Darley and D. Reynolds (eds) Global Byzantium: proceedings of the 50th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, London: Routledge. Anticipated publication date 2019.

‘Worth and value: new readings of Roman coins in the collection of the Telangana State Archaeology Museum’ in Proceedings of the International Conference, Rediscovering Telangana, Hyderabad, January 2017, Hyderabad: Department for Museums and Archaeology. (With editors).

‘Byzantine coins and peninsular India’s Late Antiquity’, Journal of Ancient Civilizations 33. (Submitted, under review review).

      O. Nicholson (ed.) Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity (2018), Oxford: Oxford University Press. Area Advisor for Numismatics (editorial responsibility for 100+ entries), sole author of 55 entries, including 'Money, Roman and post-Roman' and 'Trade, India and Ceylon', contributor to 45 entries.

      'All that glitters…: the Byzantine gold solidus, c. 300-1092' (2018) in M. Caccamo Caltabiano et al. (eds) Proceedings of the 25th International Numismatic Congress, Rome, 982-985.

      Darley, R. (2017) ‘‘Implicit cosmopolitanism’ and the commercial role of ancient Lanka’ in Z. Biedermann and A. Strathern (eds) Sri Lanka at the Crossroads of History, London: UCL Press, 44-65. Available in PDF from UCL Press here.

      ‘Self, Other and the Use and Appropriation of Late Roman coins in south India and Sri Lanka (4th-7th centuries A.D.)’ (2015) in H. P. Ray (ed) Negotiating Cultural Identity: Landscapes in Early Medieval South Asian History, London and New Delhi: Routledge, 60-84.

      With D. Reynolds 'Exhibiting coins as economic artefacts: Curating historical interpretation in Faith and Fortune' (2015) Journal of Art Historiography 13, 1-23.

      With D. Reynolds and C. Wickham Open Access Journals in Humanities and Social Science (2014) British Academy: London.

      Published as R. Day, ‘A tale of ‘four’ hoards or unpicking Akki Alur’ (2012) Journal of the Oriental Numismatic Society 211, 5-13.


'Objects in the Spotlight', Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, from November 2017. Guest curation of one of four cases showing highlights of the collection, showcasing items from the Museum's numismatic holdings.

      'The Lost Box', School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, June-August 2015, part of the AHRC-funded project 'Lost in Translation'. An experimental exhibition based on an archive of images kept at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham. Sole curator. See blog post below for further details.

      'Faith and Fortune' at The Street Gallery, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, 21st May-25th September 2015. Co-curated with Dr Ali Miynat.

      'Experiencing Images', Warburg Institute, London, November-December 2014, part of the 2014 'Being Human' Festival of the Humanities. Exhibition coordinator with Dr Johannes von Müller, co-curation with other members of the 'Bilderfahrzeuge' research group. See blog post below for further details.

      'Faith and Fortune: visualising the divine on Byzantine and early Islamic coinage', Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham, 8th November 2013-30th November 2014. Exhibition coordinator. Co-curated with Dr Daniel Reynolds, Dr Ali Miynat and Maria Vrij.

Reviews and media publications

      Review of: R. GURUKKAL, 2016, Rethinking Classical Indo-Roman Trade. Political Economy of Eastern Mediterranean Exchange Relations, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, (2016) The Classical Review, 1-3.

      'Review of: M. CRUSAFONT, A. M. BALAGUER and P. GRIERSON, 2015, Medieval European Coinage 6: The Iberian Peninsula, with a Catalogue of the Coins in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, (2015) Numismatic Chronicle 175, 366-375.

      Review of: C. NESBITT and M. JACKSON (eds), 2013, Experiencing Byzantium, Farnham: Ashgate, (2014) Diogenes 2, 91-94.

      ‘Faith and Fortune: visualising the divine on Byzantine and early Islamic coinage’ (January 2014) Minerva, Jan/Feb 40-43.

      Published as R. Day ‘Review of: G. CLARK, Late Antiquity: A Very Short Introduction (2011) Oxford, Oxford University Press’ (2012) Rosetta 11, 82-86.

      Published as R. Day 'Exhibition Review: 'Roman Coins in South India: the Centenary Exhibition Hall, Government Museum, Chennai (18th January-2nd February 2011)' Rosetta 11, 98-102.


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Research groups and institutes

  • Empires and Aftermath
  • Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>