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Institute for the Study of the Ancient World



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Irene Soto


My doctoral research focuses on assessing the extent of economic integration through trade in Late Antique Egypt, focusing also on Alexandria's role as Mediterranean emporium, by using archaeological, papyrological, and textual data.

I first started researching trade in my work as a ceramicist for the excavations at Amheida, in the Dakhleh Oasis of Egypt, where I have been working since 2009. My interest in economy and trade expanded into numismatics with my participation in the American Numismatic Society's Eric P. Newman Graduate Summer Seminar in Numismatics in 2013 where I first conceptualized an in-depth study of post-Diocletianic hoards in Egypt. I participated in the Polonsky/Brine Internship Program in Digital Humanities in 2016 in order to develop a digital map and database to be used for a visualization of the mints represented in coin hoards in Egypt. This research led to my current collaboration with Oxford Roman Economy's Coin Hoards of the Roman Empire.

During a two-year internship at the Egyptian Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I worked closely on x-raying and analyzing animal mummies from the Graeco-Roman period (forthcoming publication) as part of the new installation of Ptolemaic Art. At ISAW I have been fortunate to work with the exhibitions team in the recent exhibition Designing Identity: The Power of Textiles in Late Antiquity, and in 2014 in When the Greeks Ruled Egypt: From Alexander the Great to Cleopatra.

In addition to my fieldwork at Amheida, I have also worked as a ceramicist in Egypt at the site of Buto in the Delta, and in Turkey for the excavations of Kinik Hoyuk and Burgaz/Old Knidos.