Catherine Kearns

Biography and Interests: 

Catherine Kearns

Title: Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics and the College
Education: Ph.D. Cornell University 2015
Office: Classics 411
E-mail: cmkearns@uchicago.edu
Areas of Specialization: classical archaeology; Bronze-Iron Age social, cultural, political history; landscape and environments; archaeological method and theory; spatiality

My work focuses on human-environment relationships, landscape practices, and concepts of space and place in the ancient Mediterranean during the Bronze and Iron ages. My archaeological fieldwork has most recently centered on the island of Cyprus, where I investigate the formation of social and political landscapes alongside the rise of Iron Age polities and economic networks, ca. 900-500 BCE. Using an interdisciplinary research framework that combines archaeological evidence, geophysics, paleoenvironmental analysis, and historical texts, I examine the interplay between environmental change and the growth and maintenance of social inequalities.  Most recently, I have co-directed geophysical survey with the Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments (KAMBE) Project in south-central Cyprus, which seeks to investigate patterns of urbanism during the Late Bronze Age. In 2016 I began intensive work at Iron Age sites in the Vasilikos and Maroni valleys in order to study the development of countryside settlements and land use practices involved in the transition to the Archaic and Classical periods.

In my first book project, Unruly Landscapes: Society and Environment on Ancient Cyprus, I argue for an approach to investigating ancient landscapes that takes seriously the materials and experiences of shifting environments. Drawing upon recent advances in theorizing climatic and environmental change in the fields of geography, anthropology, and political ecology, I build a framework for examining transformative landscapes and aim to recuperate the participation of countryside communities and practices in the growth of polities, trade networks, and social boundaries during the 8th-7th centuries BCE. 

I also write about spatiality, place-making, and climate, as well as the history of archaeological thought. Currently, I am working on manuscripts that explore the spatial imaginations of Cyprus in Greek and Roman texts, ancient rural history, and the methods of pedestrian survey and geophysics. These interests also guide my teaching, which covers topics such as ancient geography, town/country dynamics, environmental archaeology, and long-term histories of the eastern Mediterranean.   

I am co-editing a book called New Directions in Cypriot Archaeology, with Sturt Manning (under contract with Cornell University Press), which showcases novel methods and case studies in prehistoric and Iron Age archaeology on the island. I am also Book Review Editor for Classical Philology.

Recent Publications: 

Books

  • New Directions in Cypriot Archaeology, ed. with S. W. Manning (Cornell University Press, 2018)

Articles

  • “Storm-surged Cyprus: spatial imaginations of the eastern Mediterranean.” Transactions of the American Philological Association (forthcoming, Spring 2018)
  • “Discerning ‘favorable’ climates: science, survey archaeology, and the Cypriot Iron Age,” in New Directions in Cypriot Archaeology, ed. with S. W. Manning (Cornell University Press, 2018)
  • “Mediterranean archeology and environmental histories in the spotlight of the Anthropocene.” History Compass 15.10 (2017): 1-15
  • “Dating the end of the Late Bronze Age with radiocarbon: some observations, concerns, and revisiting the dating of Late Cypriot IIC to IIIA.” (Manning, S. W., C. Kearns and B. Lorentzen) In B. Fischer and T. Bürge (eds.), The Sea Peoples Up-To-Date: New Research on Transformations in the Eastern Mediterranean in the 13th-11th Centuries BCE, 95-110. (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2017).
  • “Re-survey and spatial analysis of landscape developments during the first millennium BC on Cyprus.” Antiquity Project Gallery 90.353 (2016): 1-8
  • “Becoming urban: investigating the anatomy of the Maroni Late Bronze Age urban complex, Cyprus.” (Manning, S., G. M. Andreou, K. D. Fisher, P. Gerard-Little, C. Kearns, J. Leon, D. Sewell and T. Urban) Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 27.1 (2014): 3-32.
  • “‘On a clear day the Taurus Mountains hang like a cloud:’ on environmental thought in the archaeology of Cyprus.” In A. B. Knapp, J. M. Webb and A. McCarthy (eds.), J. R. B. Stewart: An Archaeological Legacy (Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology Vol. 139), 121-132. (Uppsala: Åströms Förlag, 2013).
  • “Building social boundaries at the hybridizing first-millennium BC complex of Vouni (Cyprus).” Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 24.2 (2011): 147-170

Honors, Awards, Fellowships and Grants: 

Recent Grants

  • Loeb Classical Library Foundation
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Courses: 

  • Ancient Mediterranean World I
  • The Greek Countryside
  • Ancient Mediterranean Environments
  • Strabo's World