Hello! I am a historian and archaeologist, currently pursuing my PhD at Harvard University, with a dissertation currently titled "Shifting Landscapes of Wealth and Power in the Late- and Post- Roman West." My research primarily concerns the impact of the collapse of the Roman Empire on the rural economy of Spain. I use archaeological data from rescue excavations to reconstruct changes in settlement patterns, trade routes, and overall material culture during the crucial period 300-600 of our era. While most of this research involves the excavation of municipal archives, I have also spent eight summers on digs, excavating in Italy, Israel, and, of course, Spain.
This engagement with the material record, along with the careful study of ancient texts, provides me with the opportunity to write an ancient history that sees those people who never made it into our canonical texts: women, of course, and slaves, but also the great silent masses in the countryside whose lives flit in and out at the corners of the world our senatorial authors describe. What happened to them when the ancient world system fell apart?
I believe strongly in the power of historical thinking to benefit society. While my primary focus is ancient history, I have also studied and taught American history, working on questions of slavery, racial capitalism, and American expansion. While I worked on the 2012 Obama campaign, and while playing my small part in winning that election was one of the things about which I am most proud,
I have in recent years shifting my views of what it means to be one of Aristotle's "political animals."
In addition to my archaeological and historical research, I give public lectures, to audiences ranging from Harvard Kennedy School seminars, media and tech companies, and even once to elementary school students whose teacher wanted them to learn about archaeology. I view this not just as an integral part of being an intellectual but as part of my responsibility to give back to my community in the way that I am most able--through my expertise.
Finally, I have a life outside academia--I cook, I read, I climb, I dive. When possible, I retreat to my grandparents' house, in the country, and try to live a little bit of that rural life that I spend so much time studying. I make jam. If you ever come to visit, I will make sure you take some with you.