Charles Stanish has worked extensively in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, conducting archaeological research on the prehistoric societies of the region. His theoretical work focuses on the roles that trade, war, and labor organization play in the evolution of human cooperation and complex societies. His books include The Evolution of Human Co-operation (2017), Ancient Titicaca: The Evolution of Complex Society in Southern Peru and Northern Bolivia (2003), Ritual and Pilgrimage in the Ancient Andes (with B. Bauer, 2001) and Ancient Andean Political Economy (1992). He also works with a sustainable development group to preserve global cultural heritage through a combination of micro-lending, direct community grants, and tourist infrastructure development. He was a Senior Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.