My research is focused on Mesoamerica, specifically the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca where I’ve been working since 1994. My most recent work there is designed to gauge the impact of conquest on local cultures, not just conquest by the Spanish, but also conquest by Zapotec and Aztec groups. The effects of conquest are made more difficult to identify because the Nejapa/Tavela region where I work was home to multiple ethnic groups: the Mixe, the Chontal, and eventually the Zapotec as well. Without the benefit of written records, teasing apart ethnic identity among these archaeological cultures has proven to be a challenge.
More narrowly, I’ve become interested in the manufacture of obsidian tools and what it suggests about local artisan skill, economics, and interregional relations. Although these volcanic glass tools were used by everyone on a daily basis, the raw material was not locally available and the manufacturing process indicates that artisans got the most out of what they were able to acquire.
At UTC, I teach Anth 1200 (Cultural Anthropology) and Anth 1400 (Introduction to Archaeology) every term. On a rotational basis I also teach Anth 3360 (Southeastern Native Americans), Anth 2000 (Native Americans) and Anth 3330 (Latin American Archaeology).