Research Spotlight: Learning from the past

Chimu ceramic lizard, PeruAmanda Aland, a graduate student in archaeology in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, has received a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student fellowship to conduct archaeological fieldwork and research in Peru.

In March 2009, Aland returns to a site on Peru’s northern coast, called Santa Rita B, where she spent several months last year excavating with the support of a National Science Foundation grant.

There, she and students under her direction unearthed evidence that the Incas had left their mark after conquering the region’s Chimú empire in the 15th century.

“We found Chimú pottery and architecture that show Inca influences,” she says, in addition to centuries-old animal matter and human remains.

During her 10-month Fulbright fellowship, Aland hopes to learn the extent of the Incas’ influence on the Chimú people through further excavation and laboratory analysis of her findings. “We want to piece together how the two empires interacted,” she says. “Did they go to war, or make peace living under new rules? We always can learn from the past.”

Aland, a Dallas native, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Southern California in 2004. At SMU, she has studied archaeological theory, methods and grant writing while directing summer field research in Peru. She earned her Master’s degree in anthropology from the University in 2006. (Above, a Chimú ceramic lizard from the Santa Rita B site.)

Read more from SMU News
See a slide show from Santa Rita B in Peru

About Kathleen Tibbetts

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