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Description of Research Area

The arid coastal regions of western South America allow for the preservation of organic materials that would otherwise be absent from archaeological sites. These sites often contain textiles and textile fragments that were extremely important markers of identity and status. We can use stable isotope analysis to better understand where the fibre (llama or alpaca 'wool') originated that was used to manufacture these textiles. 

Opportunities are currently available for graduate students interested in this research area.

Representative Publications

  • Szpak P, Valenzuela D, 2020. Camelid husbandry in the Atacama Desert? A stable isotope study of camelid bone collagen and textiles from the Lluta and Camarones Valleys, northern Chile. PLOS One 15, e0228332. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0228332. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • Szpak, P., Millaire, J.F., White, C.D., Donnan, C.B., Longstaffe, F.J., 2018. Stable isotope sourcing of wool from textiles at Pacatnamú. Archaeometry doi:10.111/arcm.12342. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

  • Szpak, P., Millaire, J.-F., White, C.D., Lau, G.F., Surette, F., Longstaffe, F.J., 2015. Origins of Prehispanic Camelid Wool Textiles from the North and Central Coasts of Peru traced by Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopic Analyses. Current Anthropology 56, 449-459. doi:10.1086 /680873. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]