Professor Rotroff is a Classical archaeologist whose research focuses on the use of material culture to throw light on the daily lives of ancient people.
Since 1970, Professor Rotroff has been associated with the Agora Excavations, in Athens, where archaeologists have been investigating the civic center of the ancient town and the domestic and industrial neighborhoods that surrounded it. Her concentration there has been on the archaeology of the Classical and Hellenistic periods, using primarily ceramic evidence to reconstruct the activities and behavior of ancient Athenians. She has also worked on excavations at Troy and Sardis in Turkey, and at Carthage in North Africa, and has recently completed a study of pottery from the SEEP survey project, in southern Euboia. Planned future work includes ceramic analysis at Sparta, in Greece. As a classicist as well as an archaeologist, she is particularly interested in the combination of written sources and artifacts in the explication of ancient life.