Research by the Ancient History group has traditionally focused on the History of the Roman World, including its relations with other states, empires and cultures. This focus has been a policy for many years based on the consideration that three (originally only two) tenured staff members could not possibly cover all research aspects of Ancient History. Rather than trying to cover the entire Greek and Roman World, the choice was made to concentrate on the Roman World sensu largo, i.e. including the eastern (Greek) provinces and Late Antiquity.

Since 2009, however,  a strong second research line has developed within the group: Late Antiquity Studies., which was greatly boosted thanks to the ERC project "Memory of empire: the post-imperial historiography of late Antiquity" (Peter Van Nuffelen) that became the core of the research group Late Antique Historiography. The group further grew in scope and impact when  Lieve Van Hoof joined it as a research professor in 2017.

The tenured staff members have various but overlapping domains of expertise: K. Verboven specialises in social and economic history, mainly of the western provinces and Italy during the late Republic and the Principate (ca. 200/150 BCE – ca. 250/300 CE). He works on the topics of social relations and voluntary associations, on monetary and financial history, on legal regulations and instruments, and on the role of ideology/mentality in economic decision making. A. Zuiderhoek specialises in urban history, particularly of the Roman East during the Principate. He works primarily on the role of public benefactions in elite formation and the interaction between civic elites and urban masses, on civic government intervention in the urban food supply and on city politics. P. Van Nuffelen’s specialises in late antiquity (ca. 300-600 CE) and Byzantium. He primarily studies the historiographic literature, the political culture of Late Antique society and the religious history of Antiquity. Lieve Van Hoof focuses on political lobbying and epistolography in late antiquity.

Current doctoral and post-doctoral research is situated in the fields of Economic History (on the topic of ‘trade and transport’ (Wim Broekaert)), Social History (on the topic of ‘social status’ Lindsey Vandevoorde, Marloes Deene, Kristof Vermote)), Socio-Political History (on the integration of nomadic peoples (Wouter Vanacker), and on the relation of the Jewish people to Rome (Marijn Vandenberge), History of Political Institutions (on the tribuni plebis (Kenneth Lasoen, Loonis Logghe), Historiography (on Syriac historiography (Andy Hilkens), on the reception of Socrates Scholasticus in early Byzantine period (Emerance Delacenserie) and on the "Memory of Empire" ERC project (Lieve Van Hoof), and Religious History (on the topic of atheism (Alexander Meert))

The team’s research is integrated in that of the research alliance group Roman Society Research Center with the Free University of Brussels. Apart from generally supporting the various research lines and projects at Ghent and Brussels, RSRC has a joint research programme on “Factors of Production in the Roman World” in which various members of the team are involved.

The research group at Ghent also forms the core of the international research network Structural Determinants of Economic Performance in the Roman World and of the inter-departmental Ghent Institute for Classical Studies.