AAMW Students

Kacie Alaga
First year M.A.

Kacie received her B.F.A. in Interior Design from the Design Institute of San Diego in 2007, and her M.A. in Architectural History from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2014. Her M.A. thesis analyzed two case studies exhibiting the deliberate use of ancient Roman material culture in British architecture, examining the methodology and intent behind each instance. Her research interests lie in the examination of cross-cultural exchanges arising from imperial Roman conquests, particularly in North Africa and the Levant, and the ways in which the effects of these interactions manifest within the built environment. Due to her recent work in the historic preservation field, she is also interested in investigating ways in which cultural heritage preservation efforts are being effectively employed at at-risk archaeological sites around the world. 

Katherine Burge
A.B.D.

Katherine received her B.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization from the University of Washington in 2009. She went on to complete an M.A. in "Near Eastern Antiquity" at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes-la Sorbonne in 2013. Her M.A. thesis focused on state ritual in the context of Assyrian imperial expansion. She has excavated at a number of sites in the Erbil and Soran regions of Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as at Ur in southern Iraq, and most recently at Arslantepe in Turkey. She has also worked closely with Penn Museum curators on the new Middle East Galleries (opening April, 2017). Her research interests include Bronze and Iron Age Mesopotamia, the formation of empires, imperial-local interactions, material expressions of power, seals and sealings, and the diffusion of administrative technologies. Her dissertation examines the impact of Shamshi-Adad’s short-lived regional empire on administrative practices in northern Mesopotamia in the early second millennium BCE.

Petra Creamer
A.B.D.

Petra earned her B.A. in Anthropology (with a focus in archaeology) at the Ohio State University in 2014, with her senior honors thesis addressing the trade and culture of resins and amber in the ancient Near East.   She has participated in fieldwork in Italy, Azerbaijan, and Iraqi Kurdistan, where she is an Associate Director of the Erbil Plain Archaeological Survey.  Her interests include Mesopotamian archaeology, the expansion of empire in the ancient world, and the exchange and influence of cultures between civilizations in the Near East fostered by contact and exchange.  She is particularly interested in imperial and foreign influences on material culture relating to death and funerary rituals in terms of design and use.

During the 2019-2020 year, Petra is serving as the Graduate Assistant for the University of Pennsylvania Center for Ancient Studies.

Emily French
A.B.D.

Emily received her B.A. in Classics from Bucknell University in 2014. She then spent a year in Georgetown University's Post-Baccalaureate Program. She has excavated at Tel Megiddo East and Legio in Israel, on the Ismenion Hill in Thebes, Greece, and most recently at Cosa, Italy. Her interests lie in Roman art and archaeology in the late Republican and Imperial periods, and her dissertation will explore Roman conceptions of space through landscape/geographic floor mosaics.

Reed Goodman
A.B.D.

Reed is interested in the relationship between social institutions and waterscapes in southern Mesopotamia during the Early Bronze Age. In particular, he fuses studies in remote-sensing with geo-archaeology and art history to consider the intersection of environment and society during the rise of city-states. His disseration will combine these datasets to articulate underlying processes of conurbation for cross-comparative explorations of state formation in antiquity. In addition to pursuing his PhD research, Reed is involved with the Al-Hiba Publication Project, based at Penn's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Reed has carried out fieldwork in Turkey, Mexico, Georgia, Guatemala and Iraq. He has most recently implemented a geo-archaeological program at Tell Zhurgul, under the direction of Drs. Davide Nadali and Andrea Polcaro. He will participate in new excavations at Tell al-Hiba in the spring of 2019.

James Gross
Second year

James received his B.A. in Classics and Archaeology from Stanford University in 2017. From 2017–2018 he was in Turkey with a Fulbright Research Grant. While there, he studied amphoras and amphora lids in the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology. He has worked on the Marzamemi II shipwreck excavation in Sicily and at Burgaz in Turkey. His interest is in Roman trade and economy, particularly in Late Antiquity. His current focus is related to the phenomena of amphora reuse and standardization in the eastern Mediterranean during this period.

Olivia Hayden
A.B.D.

Olivia received her B.A. in Archaeology and Classical Studies from Tufts University in 2013. Her undergraduate thesis focused on urban planning in the Greek colonies in Sicily and Magna Graecia in the 8th-6th centuries BCE. She has excavated at Tel Dor in Israel and at Voula and the Athenian agora in Greece. Her research interests include Iron Age Greece and the Near East.

Brigitte Keslinke
First year

Brigitte received a B.A. in Archaeology and History of Art and Architecture from Boston University in 2017 and an M.A. in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2019. Most recently, she has worked at the site of Gordion in Turkey, but she has also excavated at Athienou-Malloura in Cyprus. Her interests include ceramics, the art and architecture of the eastern Mediterranean, and cultural exchange and hybridity. She hopes to pursue research on eating and drinking in the Hellenistic world, as she is particularly interested in the role that these activities played in creating, preserving, and displaying identity.

Lauren King
Second year

Lauren received her B.A. in Art History from Southern Methodist University in 2018, along with minors in Archaeology, Latin, and Classical Studies. Her undergraduate senior thesis analyzed the monumental bull imagery in the Achaemenid Persian city of Persepolis from a phenomenological perspective. She has excavated at Tel Dor, Israel. Her research interests include propaganda in Mesopotamia, comparison of monumental and small-scale displays of power, and gender and sexuality.

Janelle Sadarananda
A.B.D.

Janelle received her B.A. in Classical Studies from the University of Richmond in 2013.  Her undergraduate thesis explored cultural borrowing and the construction of cultural identity through a visual analysis of a set of sixth-century BCE architectural terracottas from central Anatolia. She works at the site of Eleon in Greece with the Eastern Boeotia Archaeological Project, and has also participated in excavations at Gordion in central Turkey, at Hacımusalar Höyük in Turkey, and at Corinth in Greece.  Her dissertation explores clays and local ceramic production at Eleon.  She is also interested in conservation and site preservation. From 2017 to 2019, she was a fellow at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

James Shackelford
A.B.D.

James entered AAMW after completing a BA in Art History, Religious Studies, and Greek at the University of Minnesota in 2013.  He is pursuing a dual Ph.D. between AAMW and Religious Studies, focusing on issues of material religion in Late Antiquity.  His research explores the visuality of ritual, memory, and meaning in the Late Roman and Sasanian worlds.  In addition, he has worked as a Geospatial Analyst for several years and has a strong interest in advancing digital humanities research agendas.

John Sigmier
A.B.D.

John earned an A.B. in Classics and Anthropology from Harvard in 2012, and an M.St. in Classical Archaeology from Exeter College, Oxford in 2013. He has worked at sites in Turkey, Tunisia, Greece, and Israel, most recently at Sardis, as well as with collections at Harvard's Art and Semitic Museums. His interests include Roman provincial art, Late Antiquity, archaeological networks, and Roman architecture and urbanism, especially the transmission and adoption of architectural practices throughout different regions of the Roman Empire.

Mark Van Horn
Third year

Mark received his B.A. in Anthropology and Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies from Pennsylvania State University in 2017 and an M.A. in Anthropology the same year. His M.A. thesis focused on Persian period iron working and was entitled “Re-Forging the Past: Interpreting Phoenician Iron Production at the Site of Tel Akko, Israel.” In addition to excavations at Tel Akko, Mark has dug at Badia Pozzeveri, working on an excavation of a medieval cemetery with the University of Pisa, and at Roman Cosa, in Italy. His main research interests include the archaeology of the 'Roman West', where he is concerned with questions of imperial influence in liminal regions, local and trans-regional economies, industry and craft production in peripheral regions, and concepts of local identity.