Wesleyan portrait of Kate  Birney

Kate Birney

Assistant Professor of Classical Studies

Downey House, 294 High Street, 212
860-685-2067

Assistant Professor, Archaeology

Assistant Professor, Art History

kbirney@wesleyan.edu

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BA Yale University
MT Harvard University
PHD Harvard University

Kate Birney

Dr. Birney is Mediterranean archaeologist studying contacts between the cultures of ancient Greece and the ancient Near East – through markets, migration and myth – and how those interactions resulted in the creation of what we now think of as the Classical world.  Her research focuses on two periods of intensive contact, drawing upon a blend of archaeological, textual and scientific data. The first is the Bronze-Iron Age transition (ca. 1200 B.C.), during which Mycenaean immigrants and tribes of Sea Peoples moved from the Aegean sphere into Anatolia, Syria, Israel and Crete after the collapse of the Bronze Age empires. The story of this mass migration is echoed in the works of Homer and finds its way into several Greek foundation legends – particularly that of Mopsus – as well as the Old Testament.  The second is the Hellenistic period (323 – 63 B.C.), during which Greek and Phoenician cultural and market forces shaped the landscape of the southern Levant. This study is part of long-term archaeological work at the site of Ashkelon on the south coast of Israel, one of most famous port cities in the ancient Mediterranean, whose inhabitants had strong connections to Greek and Phoenician trading networks. Both in her research and in the classroom Dr. Birney is dedicated to integrating the traditions of Classical Studies with the archaeological sciences (3d visualization, organic residue and material science, petrography, etc.).

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Office Hours

Spring 2018:  Tuesdays 1:30- 3 pm and by appointment