Dr. Soto is a contemporary archaeologist who builds from archaeology’s attention to the material world to make sense of contemporary social issues, also drawing from ethnographic methods, GIS technology, and archival research. Her expertise is in the field of migration materialities, with a geographic focus on Latinx migration and border security at the US-Mexico border. Dr. Soto is currently working on the scholarly write-up of BMI’s latest project, Protocol Development for the Standardization of Identification and Postmortem Examinations of UBC Bodies along the U.S. - Mexico Border. The focus of this work is postmortem investigation, forensic evidence, commemoration, and care for undocumented migrants who die during border crossings in the US southwest.
Dr. Soto’s work also appears in numerous refereed journals including Political Geography, American Anthropologist, and the Journal of Social Archaeology. Her article, “Object Afterlives and the Burden of History: Between ‘trash’ and ‘heritage’ in the footsteps of migrants,” was awarded the American Anthropological Association Archaeology Division’s Gordon R. Willey Paper Prize in 2019. She has contributed chapters for the scholarly volumes, The New Nomadic Age: Archaeologies of Forced and Undocumented Migration and Sociopolitics of Migrant Death and Repatriation: Perspectives for Forensic Science. Gabriella also contributes to the online anthropology magazine, Sapiens.org. Her research has been funded by the Louis Foucar Marshall Foundation and the Wenner Gren Foundation. She has been invited to participate in workshops concerning migration materiality at Brown University’s Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World and at Oxford University’s School of Archaeology.