Colin Wells (historian)

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Colin Michael Wells (15 November 1933 in West Bridgford - 11 March 2010 in North Wales) was a British historian of ancient Rome, as well as scholar and archaeologist of classical antiquities.


After studying at Oriel College, Oxford, from 1952 to 1954, he left university for military service. He joined the Royal Artillery and was stationed in Egypt and Germany. He returned to Oxford and gained his B.A. in 1958.

Wells moved to Ottawa in 1960, where he taught Latin, Ancient History, and Archaeology at the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Ottawa. He earned his DPhil from University of Oxford in 1965, and went on to chair the department in Ottawa.

In 1987, Wells moved to San Antonio in Texas, where he took up the first T. Frank Murchison Distinguished Professorship of Classical Studies at Trinity University (Texas), where he founded a new Department of Classical Studies. He taught there until his retirement in 2005.

After his retirement he moved with his wife to live in Normandy, near Saint-Lô. He died of a stroke in North Wales in March, 2010, and is survived by his wife Kate and his two sons.


His fields of interest includes social and economic history of ancient Rome, with particular regard to military matters, Roman Africa and the transition of the Islamic North Africa, Germany and the Roman geopolitical issues pertaining to the Roman Limes, for which there was interest from the earliest publications.

Wells also had an active role as an archaeologist of the ancient Punic and Roman antiquities of provinces: at Carthage from 1976 to 1986, he directed the excavations made by the second Canadian team, under the "Save Carthage" promoted by UNESCO, a task which he continued under the auspices of Trinity University, and of which he was director since 1991.