I specialize in the archaeology of complex societies of the pre-Columbian World, including ancient empires and states. My particular areas of interest are settlement pattern analysis, ethnohistory and household archaeology. During the past years, my research has focused on the Inka empire and Tiwanaku, both located in the Andes.
With the Inka, my research seeks to understand not only how this ancient empire structured its frontiers, but also the effects of the Inka frontier on local populations and indigenous socioeconomic processes. I believe that much can be learned from such studies to further our understanding on the dynamics of modern imperial frontiers.
My current research, funded by the National Science Foundation and Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, is centered on the Charazani-Apolobamba region in La Paz, Bolivia. This region is the home of the Kallawaya, famous traveling shamans and herbal healers, whose origins seem to predate the Inka period. Specifically, this research will study the nature of the eastern Inka frontier in the ecological juncture dividing Andes and Amazon by conducting a regional-scale pedestrian survey and excavations in selected settlements.