About Sarah Yeomans

Sarah Yeomans

Dr. Sarah Yeomans is an archaeologist specializing in the Imperial period of the Roman Empire with a particular emphasis on ancient science and religion. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Southern California, a M.A. in Archaeology from the University of Sheffield (U.K.) and a M.A. in Art History from the University of Southern California. For over a decade, she was Director of Educational Programs at the Biblical Archaeology Society. A native Californian, she has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Israel, Italy, Turkey, France and England and has worked on several television and film productions, including “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman” and “Ancient Unexplained Files.” Sarah has been awarded several research grants from various institutions, including a Provost Fellowship from the University of Southern California and a U.S. Department of State, Educational and Cultural Affairs Fellowship from the American Research Institute of Turkey (ARIT). Currently, she is a Fulbright Research Fellow in Antalya, Turkey where she is researching Graeco-Roman medicine in Imperial period. She is generally happiest when covered in dirt, roaming archaeological sites in the Mediterranean region.


Presenter at

Spring Bible & Archaeology Fest 2022, April 2 – 3, 2022
Luke the “Beloved Physician”: Doctors and Medicine in Asia Minor

In his letter to the Colossians from Rome, Paul refers to his companion Luke as the “beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). Believed to have accompanied Paul on some of his missionary journeys in Asia Minor, most of what we know of Luke’s life is speculative. However, we are able to gain a clearer view of his culture and profession through an investigation of the lives of traveling doctors in first century C.E. This presentation examines the evidence for physicians and their practices in the Imperial period, touching upon what we know of medical culture in the cities that Paul, and possibly Luke, visited. By considering material from cities such as Tarsus, Pergamon, and Ephesus—and the roads in-between—we bring into focus what the life of Luke, a first-century physician in Asia Minor, may have looked like.

Bible & Archaeology Fest XX, November 17 – 19, 2017
Pandemics and Panic: Health Crises and the Religious Transformation of Imperial Rome

The Antonine Plague, the Plague of Cyprian, Justinian’s Plague: Three pandemics that swept across the Roman Empire between the second and sixth centuries CE. These were crucial, transformative centuries that saw the “fall” of polytheistic, Imperial Rome and the rise of a burgeoning Christian empire that bore little resemblance, at least religiously, to the world inhabited by the likes of Augustus, Trajan, and Hadrian. While the factors that led to such radical and far-reaching cultural shifts during this period are widely varied (and, in some cases, hotly contested), the increasing emphasis on both historical demography and environmental history in ancient studies – and the exciting, scientific advancements that have contributed to both – have allowed us to gain greater insight of the ways in which population-impacting natural events, such as epidemics, set the stage for religious transformation in the Roman Empire. This presentation examines the evidence for these three plagues and explores the ways in which they contributed to the titanic shifts in the religious landscape. Finally, such a study lends itself to a thought-provoking question: What might happen if such an event were to occur today?