National Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: Jennifer Gates-Foster

Affiliation: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Jennifer Gates-Foster is Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and holds her degrees from the University of Michigan (Ph.D.) and the University of Virginia.  Her areas of specialization are the art and archaeology of the Near East and Egypt in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and she is currently the Ceramicist for the Bir Samut Excavation Project in Egypt, and Co-Director and Ceramicist for the Horvat Omrit Settlement Excavation Project in Israel.  Professor Gates Foster is an AIA Ettinghausen Lecturer for 2022/2023.


In 2020, just before the onset of the covid pandemic, the French Archaeological Mission to the Eastern Desert (MAFDO) began excavations at the remote desert site of al-Ghozza, located near the Imperial Roman hardstone quarries of Mons Porphyrites and Mons Claudianus in Egypt’s remote mountains adjacent to the Red Sea. While most of the site’s remains were related to a third-century BCE occupation linked to gold extraction in the nearby mountains, adjacent to this older settlement the team discovered and fully excavated a small but very well-preserved Roman military fortress, called Berkou in the ancient texts found at the site. Only occupied for a few decades, the fortress offers a snapshot of military life during the height of early Imperial expansion into this remote region, and provides a valuable glimpse of military supply and organization during the Flavian era.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

JRA article on this site, published by the excavation team

This lecture considers the role that archaeology plays in place-making and community identity in the small Appalachian town of Old Fort, NC where a collaboration between archaeologists, local leaders and the US Forest Service is part of a development project aimed at creating new outdoor recreational spaces in the Pisgah National Forest. The overarching goal of the project is to leverage natural riches in a sustainable way, position marginalized communities to benefit from the resulting economic growth, and help the community retell their stories in a way that uplifts all residents and redefines a community’s sense of place. Archaeology plays a pivotal role as it speaks to the deep history of pre-contact Native American societies, remnants of colonial settlement, civil war era groups, railroad and timber development, mining, National Forest lands, African American communities, and others whose lifeways have left recoverable traces in and around the National Forest.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

Catawba Vale Collaborative

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