Associate Professor of Classical Archaeology
Ph.D., 2005, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Jennifer Gates-Foster is an Associate Professor of Classical Archaeology. She received her B.A. in Anthropology and Archaeology from the University of Virginia, and her M.A. (Greek, Classical Archaeology) and Ph.D. (Classical Art and Archaeology) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She joined the Department of Classics and Curriculum in Archaeology in 2013. Before joining the department, she held the Moses and Mary Finley Research Fellowship at Darwin College, Cambridge (2005-07) and was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin (2007-13). She has spent a year as a residential Fellow at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C. (2011-12) and was the recipient of a Loeb Classical Library Foundation Research Grant in the same year. She is also a leading member of a European Research Council Project on the Desert Networks of Egypt that recently received a 1.5 million Euro grant to pursue innovative new archival and archaeological work in Egypt. She also received a Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2017.
Her primary research interests are in the archaeology of the Near East and Egypt in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Her recent book (2019) on the Ptolemaic and Roman roads of Egypt’s Red Sea coastal region documents the material traces of some 800 years of trade, travel and settlement between the Nile Valley, the Red Sea and East Africa. She has published many articles and book chapters on this area, focusing in particular on the pottery and settlement patterns of the Hellenistic period in Upper Egypt. She has also written extensively on the archaeology of the ancient economy as well as the relationship between material culture and identity. She is currently at work on a monograph analyzing the remains of two Ptolemaic desert settlements in Egypt as well as the final publication of her fieldwork at Horvat Omrit in Israel, where she co-directed a multi-year project focused on a Roman era settlement on the ancient road leading from Tyre to Damascus.
She is also a leader of the Catawba Vale Collaborative, a cooperative project that brings together a diverse coalition in the small western North Carolina town of Old Fort to develop an accessible trail network that uncovers the region’s history and spurs equitable economic growth. Through archival and archaeological research, she and her team support community leaders as they develop these new outdoor resources and develop materials to articulate a more diverse regional history.
At UNC, she has offered a first-year seminar on archaeology and heritage (Who Owns the Past? CLAR 51) and classes on Egyptian Archaeology (CLAR 242), Roman Archaeology (CLAR 247) and Borders and Boundaries (IDST 190). Her graduate courses include the Archaeology of the Roman Provinces, Hellenistic and Roman Egypt, Archaeology and Nationalism, and Island and Desert Archaeology.