Skip to main content

Ryan Wilkinson, PhD

Associate Professor, History
Phone number
(403) 407-9498


I study “really old stuff” — the history and archaeology of ancient Mediterranean and early medieval European societies. My teaching covers several thousand years of pre-modern history, but my research focuses on late antiquity, a period that saw the fragmentation of the Roman Empire and pivotal developments in religious history (in Christian church history, late antiquity broadly coincides with what is sometimes called the “patristic” era). My diverse research interests often reflect some recurring themes: societal collapse and/or resilience, the history of Christian doctrines, and ancient relationships between political violence, communication, and social networks. In particular, I have published or am now writing on changing social networks in the barbarian kingdoms of post-Roman Gaul; the use of the Bible by the sixth-century historian, Jordanes; and (most recently) early Christian theologies of creation. In other spheres of life, I write fiction and poetry, play various table-top games with friends and family, and enjoy exploring the woods, backroads, and mountains of southern Alberta.

Current Research

Currently, my central writing project is a book-length discussion of early Christian theologies of creation, along with a consideration of how such theological ideas could reshape Christian engagement with the challenges of the present age.

I recently completed an invited book chapter on the sixth-century historian, Jordanes, for a forthcoming international volume on The Bible in Ancient Historiography. Jordanes’ history of the Gothic people remains one of the more controversial but important historical works from late antiquity. My work explores Jordanes’ exposure to different ancient translations of the Bible, and shows how he used biblical language, themes, and narrative parallels to comment subtly (and even subversively) on the political and cultural crises of his age.


PhD (Harvard University)
MA (The University of Arizona)
BA (The University of Arizona)

Signature Courses

HI 432, The Fall of Rome and the Collapse of Complex Societies
HI 333/CH 611, Topics in Christian History: Early Christianity
HI 321, Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, and the Medieval North

Select Publications

The Last Horizons of Roman Gaul: Communication, Coin Circulation, and the Limits of the Second Burgundian Kingdom. A Prosopographical, Numismatic, and Ceramic Synthesis (ca. 395-550 CE). BAR International Series 3006. Oxford: BAR Publishing [British Archaeological Reports], 2020.
“Identifying Ancient Coins Deposited with Modern Ships’ Ballast: A Problem for Distribution Studies?” American Journal of Numismatics ser. 2, 32 (2020): 169-178.
“Theoderic Goes to the Promised Land: Accidental Propaganda in Jordanes’ Gothic History?” Early Medieval Europe 26.3 (2018). Forthcoming.
“The Hidden Demographics of Roman Migration.” Review of Migration and Mobility in the Early Roman Empire, edd. L. de Ligt and L. E. Tacoma. Journal of Roman Archaeology 30 (2017): 682-7.