Associate Professor Mediterranean Archaeology, currently Head of the World Archaeology Department.
My research interests concentrate on the Iron Age, Hellenistic and Roman periods in the Central Mediterranean, with a particular emphasis on the early Italic peoples and early Roman colonialism.
My PhD thesis (resulting in the book Cult Places and Cultural Change in Republican Italy, Amsterdam 2009) focused on the impact of Rome in the realm of religion and rural settlement organization. It argues for a stronger Roman impact in these spheres than previously assumed, by pointing out unexpected patterns related to early Roman expansion.
After that, I conducted research on early Roman colonization at the University of Oxford (Brasenose College) and the University of Glasgow, starting new field work in Aesernia (263 BC).
With the generous help of NWO, at Leiden I expanded the colonization research line, together with Dr. Jeremia Pelgrom from the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome and an enthusiastic team in Leiden. Our project combines a rethinking of the modern historiography and theory of early Roman expansionism with new field work in two early Roman colonies (see Stek/Pelgrom, Roman Republican Colonization, Rome 2014).
Meanwhile, I also coordinate a long-term field work project on Bronze Age to Late Roman Samnium, in the Adriatic Central Apennines. This involves field survey, remote sensing and excavation in various sites. Pivotal for this project is the Center of Archaeological Studies at Jelsi, Molise, a collaborative enterprise between the local community of Jelsi, the Royal Dutch Institute at Rome, and Leiden University. The Centro functions as a hub and base camp for research, teaching and knowledge dissemination.