Karen Foster

Lecturer of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations and History of Art


Karen Polinger Foster (A.B. 1971, Mount Holyoke College; M.A. 1974, M.Phil. 1974, Ph.D. 1976, Yale University) specializes in the art and archaeology of the Bronze Age Aegean, with particular interests in interconnections with Egypt and the ancient Near East. She is the author of Aegean Faience of the Bronze Age (1979) and Minoan Ceramic Relief (1982). She co-edited with Robert Laffineur of the University of Liege, METRON: Measuring the Aegean Bronze Age, the proceedings of the 9th International Aegean Conference, held at Yale University in April 2002. With Benjamin R. Foster and Patty Gerstenblith, she wrote Iraq Beyond the Headlines: History, Archaeology, and War (2005). Civilizations of Ancient Iraq (2008) was co-authored with Benjamin R. Foster. Her current major research project involves the final preparation of Strange and Wonderful: Exotic Flora and Fauna in Image and Imagination, a comprehensive study of this material from ancient to modern times.

She is the author of over thirty articles on various aspects of Bronze Age art and iconography, including several studies of the wall painting programs from Thera. She has recently completed a trilogy of articles dealing with volcanic imagery in art and literature, beginning with the Thera eruption and concluding with the Villa of the Mysteries at Pompeii. A special interest in the chronology of the Thera eruption has resulted in several collaborative analyses of pumice from Egyptian graves. In addition, she has written over thirty book reviews and participates regularly in scholarly conferences, symposia, and panel discussions, here and abroad.

Contact Information

56 High Street
432-6715 (Office)