Amanda Aland, an SMU archaeology graduate student in Dedman College, and a team of students working under her direction in Peru, in 2008 unearthed evidence that the Incas left their mark after conquering the Chimú empire in the 15th century.
Now Aland has received a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student fellowship to conduct further archaeological fieldwork and research in Peru.
In March 2009, Aland will return 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.
“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, where she earned a Master’s degree in anthropology in 2006, she has studied archaeological theory, methods and grant writing while directing summer field research in Peru.
“Amanda is developing important new perspectives on the expansion of the Inca empire,” says Alan Covey, assistant professor of anthropology and Aland’s dissertation adviser. “Peru’s north coast was an important provincial region, but one that is still not well understood by archaeologists. Her research stands to make a valuable contribution.”
Aland is one of 1,450 U.S. citizens selected to study abroad this year through the U.S. State Department’s Fulbright U.S. Student Program, and one of 40 SMU students who have been awarded the fellowship in the last 35 years. — Sarah Hanan