I am an archaeologist who has returned to the UK after an extraordinary 19 years of living and working in Italy and I am happily settling into London life.

I have completed a PhD and been awarded a doctorate (University of Southampton) based on the results of the fieldwork I undertook for the British School at Rome’s Pompeii Project under the direction of Prof. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill. My research involved the design and implementation of a system to record standing buildings. This then formed the basis for the chronological analysis of a block of houses (Insula 9, Region I) with a view to understanding the development of a group of non-elite houses through time.

And yes you may call me Dr Hay. I’m utterly fine with that. Really.

I am currently working at the University of Cambridge as a Post-doctoral Research Associate on a Pompeii project ― The Bar of Amarantus and his Neighbours ― that focuses on the excavations and building survey work we undertook in collaboration with The University of Reading in Pompeii.

Prior to this, I worked at the University of Southampton for whom, in collaboration with the British School at Rome, I worked as a professional archaeologist conducting geophysical surveys. I have project managed over 100 geophysical surveys since 2003 and have had the privilege to work on a vast number of archaeological sites in Italy as well as further afield in Sudan, Libya, Turkey and Tunisia. For more information about the geophysical survey work I have been involved in, visit: The British School at Rome

Many of my academic publications can be found on academia.edu

When I travel my camera is usually wedged firmly against my face so be prepared for illustrated ramblings from my various adventures – my so-called ‘odysseys’ (although they have yet to feature sea monsters and enchanting ladies with chicken legs).

I am happy to respond to requests to use my photographs for any publications and to date I know that my images have appeared in academic publications, on websites, in an exhibition catalogue, various popular archaeological magazines and two best-selling books ― Tom Holland’s ‘Dynasty’ (2015) and Charlotte Higgins’ ‘Red Thread: Of Labyrinths and Mazes’ (2018).

I am also happy to respond to requests for television and radio work relating to my specialist subject of Pompeii. My recent involvement with television programmes can be found here.

And of course you can follow me on Twitter for a more diverse and colourful account of my existence by clicking the ‘follow @pompei79‘ button in the right hand column of this page.

I am also a novice on Instagram: pompei79

Contact information:

Email: drsophiehay@gmail.com

10 thoughts on “About

  1. ritaroberts

    Hello Sophie, Wow ! I do envy you living in Rome a place I have been meaning to visit for years. I must do this sometime soon. However , I live in Crete so that’s the next best thing eh. Love your blog and am following.

    1. pompei79 Post author

      How lovely of you to say. Yes, Rome is a fabulous city to live in but I have visited Crete and can vouch that it is a spectacular location, so well done you! Thanks for following, I am honoured.

  2. Chahrazed

    Hi very lucky Sophie 🙂 Being an archeologist and living in Rome? You must be a special person 🙂
    I’m an architecture student (master 2) and currently designing a theme park for Timgad – Thamugadi as my final year’s project. I came across your blog while doing a research about the value of Timgad, and I want to ask you dear Sophie; what do you think of Timgad’s importance as an archeologist and a tourist? Does it have what it takes to make it an international tourist pole? Would it be more interesting with a theme park that tells her story? I would love to discuss my project with you if you don’t mind. Only I can’t do it in public :-p

    Please keep it Up, it’s inspiring to meetlovely people like yourself 🙂
    Have a fruitful day,


  3. kurtnemes

    Great site. I live in Naples in 1980 and Rome in 1981-2 in Trastevere. Both are amazing cities. I’d suggest mapping Paestum and if Algeria ever becomes safe again, Timgad and Tipasa. All the best.

    1. pompei79 Post author

      Thank you for your kind words. I don’t lecture at the moment but perhaps next year, when my work life will hopefully be more Pompeii-centric, I will.

  4. zententia

    Hi : ) my family and I are currently travelling around Algeria and I came across your blog. Really wonderful stories, about other countries as well! I am also an archaeologist so our travel interests seem very similar : ) and also just recently settled back in London.

    1. pompei79 Post author

      Oh that’s so lovely to hear and what a coincidence! Apologies for the lengthy delay in replying but I hope your trip to Algeria was as memorable as mine.


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