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Reader in Latin American Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, UCL

As a Reader Latin American Archaeology, my interests are quite broad, covering practically all periods of human history in the Americas, from Paleoamerican to the early colonial period, particularly in South America (Andes and tropical lowlands) and the Caribbean Islands. Since 1992, I directed (PI) archaeological excavations along the Mississippi River (Tennessee, Arkansas), the Gulf Coast of Florida-Alabama, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Culebra Island, St. Tomas-Virgin Islands.

Since joining the Institute of Archaeology (1994), I have continued to direct projects in Puerto Rico (Utuado-Caguana Archaeological Project) and northern Dominican Republic (Macorix Archaeological Project) and currently added the margins of the Orinoco river region of Venezuela and Colombia. My research topics are quite diverse, including among others the development of agricultural economies, the rise of middle-range to complex state polities, the archaeology of sacred landscapes (burial caves, rock art, megalithic architecture), the meaning and symbolism of potent/powerful objects (material culture), trade and exchange, and processes of ethnogenesis and culture change.

One particular interest is in ceramic analyses, its classification methods, and theoretical assumptions, and what these tell us about social relations among producers and consumers and about their identities. In my fieldwork, I adopt a reflexive approach to archaeology approach, which involves partnerships with indigenous communities and leaders in jointly building past and recent historical knowledge and enhancing the conservation as well as promotion of tangible and intangible cultural heritage. I teach undergraduate (yrs. 2-3) modules on the archaeology of the Andes and Amazonia and co-teach two graduate (Masters) courses: "Comparative Archaeologies of the Americas-1: First Peoples to Emerging Complexity". and "Comparative Archaeologies of the Americas-2: Empire, States & Settlement." I also teach the 1st year undergraduate core module "Introduction to Social Anthropology".


  • –present
    Reader in Latin American Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, UCL