Ross Burns is the author of two works on the archaeology and history of Syria. Monuments of Syria was first published in 1992 and has since had a succession of paperback and revised editions including one in French. In 2009, it was re-published in a thoroughly revised third English edition by I B Tauris, London (ISBN 978-1-84511-947-8). In 2005, Damascus – A History was published (Routledge, London) — the only examination at book length in English of this key Arab capital. This is now available in a paperback edition (ISBN 978-0-415-41317-6).
Ross was for many years in the Australian Foreign Service and had a number of Middle Eastern assignments. He has also accompanied as lecturer a number of tours to Syria, Lebanon and Jordan for the British travel company, Martin Randall Travel, and for the Melbourne firm, Australians Studying Abroad. He completed a Ph D in urban landscapes in the Roman Near East at Macquarie University in Sydney in 2011. This study, hopefully to be published as a book in the near future, looks at the role of the strikingly distinctive feature that marks many of the cities of the Roman Eastern provinces — their long straight avenues lined with columns which define the shape of the whole city in one commanding perspective. The colonnaded axis became an essential element in all sizeable centres of the Greek-speaking empire under Rome. The origins of this concept, unfamiliar in either the Greek or Roman traditions, appears to have evolved in response to ideas on city planning blending elements from many traditions, coming together in the wealthy Eastern cities’ attempts to out-do each other in the scale and beauty of their civic environments. The colonnaded streets embodied a city’s prosperity and commitment to Rome’s new order and were almost universally adopted by the second century AD. An outline of the thesis entitled ‘Colonnaded Streets in the Cities of the East Under Rome’ is attached —
Ross plans other projects intended to make more accessible to a wider audience the ‘ins and outs’ of the Middle East, looking more closely at other forgotten corners of Syria’s past. He lectures both to specialist and generalist audiences and has contributed to academic publications. A list of lectures given over the period 2004 to 2012 is found in the attached PDF — List of lectures Ross Burns 21 Aug 2012