Katie Paul, Archaeologist & ArchaeoActivist
Katie A. Paul is an anthropologist and archaeologist fighting to combat illicit antiquities trafficking in the Middle East. She has done extensive research on the looting of ancient artifacts in Egypt, but her focus on archaeology started at her roots.
Originally from Ohio — a state archaeologically rich in its own right — Katie would operate her own ‘digs’ in her backyard as a kid to search for fossils and other ancient finds. She now resides in Washington, DC (but still has the fossils!).
She serves as the Chief of Staff at the Antiquities Coalition, a Washington, DC-based non-profit dedicated to providing solutions to protect culture under threat in countries facing crisis. Katie is also cofounder of The ArchaeoVenturers Project and co-hosted the ArchaeoVenturers YouTube series dedicated on bringing archaeology and science to a millennial audience. Katie has worked to advocate for preservation of history in the MENA region since she began her career at The George Washington University.
Her passion for protecting heritage began at a young age, but turned to activism following the 2011 Arab Spring. Using her accomplished research skills and innovative methodologies, Katie has applied her intimate knowledge of the conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa and the escalating crises affecting the present day and ancient history of the region, to become an advocate for ‘real world’ archaeology and its accompanying humanitarian issues while also working to provide solutions to a growing international heritage crisis. She knows that today it’s not enough to simply be an archaeologist to protect heritage, you have to be an ArchaeoActivist, working across fields and disciplines to combat the trafficking of antiquities by terrorist groups like Daesh (commonly known as ISIS) as well as the wider criminal networks engaged in cultural racketeering across the Middle East.
Katie’s research on Egypt and the wider Middle East and North Africa has produced new tools in analyzing the rapid loss of our history across the region. She led the development of the #CultureUnderThreat Smart M.App, the first interactive map illustrating the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage across the Middle East and North Africa since the Arab Spring. Working with experts in counter-terrorism, she is examining this widespread loss of our history in relation to terrorist-occupied areas to identify patterns in activity.
She has also developed a new research methodology for the examination of culture under threat released in a case study she conducted on Egypt. Her work contributes to the International Coalition to Protect Egyptian Antiquities (ICPEA), an initiative of the Antiquities Coalition.
Beyond the archaeology, Katie also applies her anthropological eye on the Middle East and examination of popular media culture to serving as an official content writer for InStyle. She developed a red flag checklist for InStyle to help tourists avoid purchasing blood antiquities – she is always looking for ways to reach a new audience to raise awareness about culture under threat and to introduce new readers to the incredible world of archaeology.
Katie has studied and conducted fieldwork around the world, including Egypt, Israel, and San Salvador, Bahamas. She has had writings published in the Huffington Post, Slate, InStyle and academic publications and has been interviewed and quote on her work by international media outlets such as Newsweek, Al Monitor, and Interfaith Voices Radio as well as being tapped as a host for a tourism promotion video in Egypt.
Katie received her B.A.s from Miami University-Ohio in Anthropology and Ancient Greek, and her M.A. in Anthropology from The George Washington University. Always looking to learn more, she has studied Arabic, Ancient Greek and Spanish languages – she likes to take the hard way when it comes to language and study a variety that have no similarities whatsoever. She is a member of the #CultureUnderThreat Task Force as well as the Archaeological Institute of America’s Cultural Policy Committee.