Current Grad Students in Archaeology

Katie Breyer 


Katie Breyer is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. She received her B.A. in both Archaeology and Classical Civilizations from the University of Cincinnati in 2018 and she received her M.A. from Bryn Mawr College in 2020. Her M.A. thesis focused on the transformation of Naqš-e Rostam into a Sasanian political landscape. She has previously excavated at Morgantina in Sicily and the Vagnari Cemetery in southern Italy, worked with a small finds team at Pompeii, and most recently worked with the Sinus Archaeological Survey in western Sardinia. Her main interests are in spatial and landscape archaeology, urban development, mortuary archaeology, the construction of power and identity, and Roman art and architecture. 

Tracey Cian


Tracey is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. She obtained her B.A. in Heritage Studies at the University of Pisa in 2010, focusing her research on Egyptology and Near Eastern studies. She subsequently graduated from University College of London in Qatar in 2015 with an M.A. in Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World. In 2019 she received her second M.A. in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology from Bryn Mawr College and is now working on her Ph.D. dissertation. This will focus on the significance of artefacts depicting snakes found in Iron Age south-eastern Arabia as part of a broader understanding of the social interaction between the communities living in the area and the significance of the artefacts themselves.

She has previously worked on excavations in Italy, Greece, Oman, and Qatar where she was involved in both excavation procedures and in the cataloguing and sorting of finds. Most recently, she was part of a survey team, led by Bryn Mawr's Professor Bradbury, in northern Lebanon.

She is mostly interested in the societal aspects of the Arabian Peninsula in the Bronze Age and Iron Age, and the religious features of the Arabian Peninsula, Elam, and Mesopotamia in the Bronze Age and Iron Age. She is also interested in studying and working on Pre-Islamic and Late Islamic pottery from the Gulf, and their trading connections between the Gulf, the Near and Far East.

Jeff Cumonow


Jeff Cumonow is a  M.A. candidate in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. He received his B.A. in History and Anthropology at Eckerd College in 2013, and M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies with a focus in Late Antique and Early Islamic Archaeology from the University of Chicago in 2019. He has previously been employed as a conservator and archaeologist for the Israel Antiquities Authority and as Head of Museum Archives at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. He has worked at a wide variety of sites throughout Israel including Tel Keisan, Caesarea, Herodium, and Mampsis. Jeff’s interests include transformation and continuity of urban and intramural landscapes in the Levant from the Late Antique to Medieval Islamic eras, reuse of structures and spolia, and environmental evolutions.

Shannon Dunn

Shannon M Dunn is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, writing a dissertation on border sanctuaries throughout the archaic and classical Peloponnese. She received a B.A. in Anthropology with a minor in Classics from the Colorado College in 2010, and her M.A. in CNEA at Bryn Mawr in 2019 with the thesis “Sanctuaries of Poseidon in the Saronic Gulf: A Landscape Approach.” She has excavated at Boeotian Onchestos and Achaean Helike in Greece, Omrit in Israel, and has done survey in the Scottish Highlands and coastal Lebanon, the latter as part of a team led by Bryn Mawr professor J. Bradbury. She is currently a member of the Bays of East Attica Regional Survey (BEARS) team in Greece. Shannon spent the 2019-20 academic year as a regular member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and 2021-22 as an associate member, as the Gorham Phillips Stevens fellow. Her research interests include Greek polytheism and cult regionalism; maritime religion; the relationship between landscape, mythology, and cult practice; the prehistoric Aegean; ancient herbalism and medicine; travel literature; early modern receptions of antiquity; and contemporary issues of cultural heritage. She has presented her work on border sanctuaries and on Poseidon cult at international conferences and has a newly published (2022) exhibition volume for the show “Hippos: the Horse in Ancient Athens,” co-edited with Bryn Mawr alumna Jenifer Neils, from the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Kari Fossum

Kari Fossum headshot

Kari Fossum is an M.A. candidate in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. She received her B.A. in Classics at Mount Holyoke College in 2021. Her research interests include connectivity, mobility, and identity formation during the Archaic period in the culturally Greek ‘colonies’ on the northern and eastern Black Sea littoral, interactions between these Greeks and Scythians, the evolution of attitudes towards archaeology in the modern nations occupying this area, and contemporary cultural heritage issues, especially in regions impacted by conflict. Kari has excavated in Italy at the Etruscan site of Poggio Civitate.

Mackenzie Heglar


Mackenzie Heglar is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. She received her A.B. in classics and A.B in anthropology from Davidson College in 2012. She completed a post-baccalaureate in ancient languages from the University of North Carolina in 2013 and received her MA from Bryn Mawr College in 2015. Her MA thesis explored the process of deposition through the analysis of the formation of votive deposits on Cyprus, with a focus on reconstructing deposits excavated by the Swedish Cyprus Expedition at the sites of Mersinaki and Kition. Her current research interests include the art and archaeology of the eastern Mediterranean, the role of landscape and memory in the construction of identity, the recycling and deposition of votive objects in sacred spaces, and the role of adaptive strategies and resource availability/exploitation in site management and development. She has excavated and worked as a trench director at the site of Athienou-Malloura, Cyprus for the past four seasons.

Yusi Liu 


Yusi Liu is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. She received her B.A. in both Classics and Art History with a minor in European Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018. She received her M.A. in CNEA from Bryn Mawr College in 2021 with the thesis “Art Meets Archaeology on Delos: Antony Gormley’s SIGHT as a Heuristic Tool to Read the Archaeological Site”. Her research interests include archaeological theory, classical reception in modern and contemporary art, museum studies and curation, and collection history.

Ashley Mason


Ashley is an M.A. candidate in the Department of Near Eastern and Classical Archaeology. She received her B.A. from the Ohio State University in classics and ancient history in 2010, and her M.A. from Texas Tech University in classics in 2012, where she served as adjunct faculty from 2012-2015. Her research interests include the material culture of religion, religious transformations in Magna Graecia and the Levant, Greek and Roman sanctuaries, and the archaeology of Jordan. She has excavated in Greece, Roman Britain, and currently excavates in Jordan and Italy.

Illizt Elena Castillo Pineda

Illizt Elena Castillo Pineda headshot


Illizt Elena Castillo Pineda is an international M.A. student from Mexico. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature (with Honorific Mention) and a B.A. in Classics (also with Honorific Mention); both degrees conferred by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Pending is her forthcoming MA in Comparative Literature also from UNAM, as she is currently completing her M.A. thesis on the analysis of plants and tree allegorical-symbolic imagery featured in the poetry of both T.S. Eliot and Seneca. Illizt’s research interests are Bronze Age glyptic, Etruscan material culture, trade and transport networks of antiquity, the ancient seafaring and waterways, and ancient technology and materiality.

Clare Rasmussen 

Clare Rasmussen Headshot

Clare Rasmussen is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. She received her B.A. in anthropology and classical archaeology from the University of Michigan in 2015 and her M.A. in Classics from the University of Arizona in 2017. She is primarily interested in Roman archaeology with a particular focus on water studies, city planning, architecture, landscape, and cultural identity. She has worked at several sites in Italy and the United States, but more recently the Mt. Lykaion Survey and Excavation Project (2016-2018) and the Gordion Archaeological Project (2019). 

She is currently an ACOR-CAORC Pre-Doctoral Fellow for the 2022-2023 year. While she is a resident at ACOR, Clare will be working on her PhD dissertation titled “Water Consumption in the Decapolis: Examining Water Use in Gerasa, Philadelphia, Gadara, and Pella during the Roman Period”.

Andrea Samz-Pustol 


Andrea is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. She received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in Classics and Art History in 2010, her M.A. from the University of Kansas in Classics in 2014, and her M.A. from Bryn Mawr in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology in 2017. Andrea’s M.A. thesis examined the logistics of land transportation of quarried stone for temples, city walls, and houses at Agrigento, Selinunte, and Syracuse in Sicily. She studied the temporal and spatial context of stone transport and used Google Earth to study and map transport roads. Her research interests include Greek sanctuaries, the ancient diet, agriculture, Magna Graecia, sculpture and architecture, artistic practices, construction processes, and cross-cultural interaction. Andrea's dissertation examines the function and symbolism of vegetal representations offered in Greek sanctuaries within the wider context of sacrifice, offerings, and diet. She has excavated at the Villa delle Vignacce in Rome, the Porta Marina in Ostia, Gournia in Crete, Corinth in Greece, Tharros in Sardinia, and has worked at Morgantina in Sicily since 2015.  She was an associate member at the American School for Classical Studies in Athens (2018-2019).

Megan Sligar


Megan is a Ph.D. candidate currently working on her dissertation, provisionally set to investigate the intersection of landscapes, burial structures, and burial goods as reflections of the cosmologies of Eurasian pastoralists. In 2016 she earned her M.A. from Bryn Mawr College with the thesis, “Nomads and the Luristan Bronzes: Politics, the Excavations of Louis Vanden Berghe, and the Formation of Archaeological Discourse in Twentieth Century Iran." In 2013 she completed the post-baccalaureate program in classical languages at Georgetown University. She received her B.A. from Tufts University in 2011. She has excavated at the Roman fort of Binchester in the UK, Gabii in Italy, and Apollonia Pontica in Bulgaria. Most recently (2017 and 2018) she has worked on the joint Uzbek-American excavations in the Bukhara Oasis of Uzbekistan. Her interests include nomadism and the material culture of pastoralists in the steppe lands from Ukraine to Central Asia, landscape theory, object theory, and mortuary practice. Other interests include museum studies and practices, object care and conservation, public reception of antiquity, Late Antiquity, and frontier studies.

Lala St. Fleur

Lala St. Fleur is an M.A. candidate in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. She received her B.A. in anthropology from Brooklyn College in 2018, with a concentration in Japanese archaeology, and a double minor in classics and history. She received her M.A. in liberal studies from the City University of New York's Graduate Center in 2020, with a concentration in the archaeology of the Classical, Late Antique, and Islamic worlds. Lala's research interests include comparative studies of world mythologies, chthonic cults, hero cults, and religious iconography.