Latin American Archaeology Program

Departmental field programs include on-going research in Peru, conducted by Jean Hudson; in Quintana Roo, Mexico, co-directed by Laura Villamil and Jason Sherman; as well as past projects in Puebla, Mexico, conducted by Melvin Fowler (emeritus) and John Richards.


Work in Peru focuses on ecological relationships between humans, their cultural systems, and local faunal resources. Projects in southern Peru include zooarchaeological analysis of two coastal preceramic sites, Kilometer 4 and Villa del Mar; a close working relationship with the Museo Contisuyo in Moquegua, Peru, has been essential to this research. A study abroad program during Winterim 2002 involved 12 students traveling to Peru during the month of January for an intensive introduction to Peruvian archaeology and applied zooarchaeology. A new research program is underway in northern Peru and involves ethnoarchaeological research with modern reed boat fishing communities and the development of local comparative osteological collections.


Since 2008 Laura Villamil and Jason Sherman have been co-directing intensive research at the site of Margarita in southern Quintana Roo, Mexico—an important but relatively under-studied area of the Maya lowlands. The aims of this on-going research are threefold:

  1. to reconstruct the settlement history of the site, and relate it to the developmental trajectories of other settlements in the region;
  2. to explore the socioeconomic relationships and the degree and nature of differentiation among the site's residents; and
  3. to contextualize Margarita by examining how its inhabitants participated in regional and pan-regional cultural, political, and economic networks.