Current graduate advisees

James Zimmer-Dauphinee

James Zimmer-Dauphinee is an archaeologist interested in technological and spatial analytic applications in archaeology with a focus on geophysical methods and spatial modeling. He seeks to utilize technology to develop an anthropological understanding of the impact of colonization on the distribution of political and economic power and the use of space by indigenous peoples. He holds an MA (2014) in Anthropology from the University of Arkansas (2014), a BA in Anthropology, and a BS in Mathematics from Georgia Southern University (2011). His masters thesis used Electrical Resistivity Tomography to explore sub-surface structures of the tallest prehistoric mounds in Arkansas. He has done field work across the Southeastern United States, at the Gault site and throughout the Middle Missouri region of South Dakota, and in coastal Peru. In 2015, he worked as the Regenstein Collection Research Assistant for the Field Museum of Natural History, utilizing social network analysis and spatial modeling to understand the relation between linguistic variation and material culture in New Guinea. He is now interested in turning his attention to exploring the changes in landscape, society, and economics of Andean peoples as a result of Spanish colonialism.

Abel Traslaviña

Abel Traslaviña is a Peruvian archaeologist graduated from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (UNMSM) where completed his bachelor’s degree in 2008 and earned his licentiate’s degree (2016) with the thesis entitled “El sentido del orden: Implicancias de la transformación del espacio durante la colonia temprana en Malata, Valle del Colca, Peru” (ñaArias), where he addresses the transition of a small prehispanic village under two different foreign administrations (Inkaic and Spanish) and their means of social control. In his current research, he is investigating how ritual and political landscapes were transformed as a consequence of the Spanish invasion of the Andean region of South America. Abel is the director of Proyecto Arqueológico Lurín Colonial (PALCO) where is applying his extensive fieldwork experience as well as his knowledge of GIS, photogrammetry, geophysical survey, and other spatial technologies to address the social and political changes and continuities following the resettlement of the population into new planned villages (reducciones) under Spanish colonial administration during the 16th and 17th centuries. This project is centered in the middle and lower Lurin Valley (Lima Department, Peru).

Gabriela Oré
Gabriela Oré

Gabriela Oré Menéndez is a Peruvian archaeologist with interests in prehispanic imperialism in the Andean region, with a focus on provincial relations in the Inka Empire. She graduated from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), where she earned her B.A. in Archaeology (2007) and her Masters degree in Archaeology with a mention in Andean Studies (2012).  Oré taught Archaeological Survey for four years at the same university. More recently she has studied ceramic production using archaeometric methods and has been particularly interested in the development of production and exchange networks in the Inka Empire. She also has an ongoing interest in the development and application of new spatial technologies for archaeological research.

Samantha Turley

Samantha Turley is an archaeologist interested in the disruption and production of power in the early colonial Andes, particularly through the lens of architecture and theories of practice. Samantha holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Rochester in Archaeology, Technology, and Historic Structures and a Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music. Her undergraduate research was on the the digital reconstruction, structural analysis, and historical significance of Elmina Castle on the coast of Ghana. She has worked at various archaeological sites throughout New England, Ghana, and Peru.

Past PhD students

Scotti Norman

Scotti Norman is an archaeologist investigating Taqui Onqoy, a millenarian cult that emerged in the central Peruvian highlands during the early colonial era in Peru.  Her dissertation research, which will begin in spring, 2015, is supported by grants from Fulbright Hays and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Scotti graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2008 with a double BA in Psychology and Anthropology with a concentration in archaeology.  She has conducted archaeological research and fieldwork in Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Belize.

Carla Hernandez

Carla Hernández (co-advised with Prof. Tom Dillehay) is a Peruvian archaeologist interested in the Inka and Spanish colonization processes throughout the 15th and 16th centuries. She graduated from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (PUCP) with a B.A. in Archaeology in 2005 and with an M.A. in Archaeology with a mention on Andean Studies in 2010. She has also worked as a professor in this university from the year 2008 to 2011. She has also worked for several years in the Archaeological Program “Valley of Pachacamac” (PASL), where she was in charge of Laboratory work and excavation in the site of Pueblo Viejo-Pucará in the Lurin valley. She was also participated in excavations in several sites of Peru, including Galindo (Trujillo), Talambo (Jequetepeque), Balcon del Diablo (Cusco) and Pachacamac (Lima). Her current research is focused in the region of Huarochiri in the Lurin highlands, where she is pursuing archaeological, ethnohistorical and ethnographic work to better reconstruct and understand the organization of the province. She is currently focused in the region of Huarochiri. She is also interested in the use of colonial documentation for reconstructing the life of ancient communities, as well as understanding how this small towns experienced and dealt with different types of colonial encounters.

Brendan Weaver

Brendan Weaver is an historical anthropologist who examines colonialism in the Americas. He is particularly interested in how European, African, and indigenous peoples have engaged in the processes of transculturation, leading to new power relations and political economies, which continue to have a bearing on contemporary ideas of identity. Hi dissertation research, focusing on the lives of African slaves at Jesuit wine haciendas in the Nazca drainage, is supported by grants from the Social Science Research Council and Fulbright Hays. He is currently writing his dissertation with the support of a fellowship from the Robert Penn Warren Humanities Center at Vanderbilt University. Brendan graduated from Western Michigan University (WMU) in 2005 with a B.A. in Anthropology, specializing in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. While earning his undergraduate degree, Brendan worked for three field seasons in Barbados studying both British colonialism and the archaeology of the pre-Columbian peoples of the southeastern Caribbean. In 2008, he received an M.A. in Anthropology with a certificate in Ethnohistory, also from WMU. His master’s thesis titled, Ferro Ingenio: An Archaeological and Ethnohistorical View of Labor and Empire in Colonial Porco and Potosí, concerns two seasons of archaeological fieldwork and ethnohistorical investigation at an early colonial silver mining and processing site in southern Andean Bolivia. Currently, Brendan is continuing to conduct historical archaeology in the Andes and remains interested in public anthropology and issues concerning labor and power.

Lauren Kohut

Lauren Kohut is an archaeologist with research interests in the effects of structured violent conflict on polity emergence and consolidation. Her dissertation research, a combined large scale survey and excavation project, is supported by a grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Lauren is currently writing her dissertation with the support of an advanced dissertation fellowship from the Vanderbilt University College of Arts and Science. She graduated cum laude from Bryn Mawr College in 2005 with an BA in Anthropology with a concentration in Hispanic and Hispanic-American Studies and a minor in Spanish Language and Literature. Her undergraduate honors thesis, Weaving Culture: Burial Textiles from Pachacamac, Peru examined a collection of previously unstudied coca bags from the Uhle collection at the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining Vanderbilt in 2007 Lauren worked as a contract archaeologist and assisted with a large-scale NAGPRA repatriation project. Lauren has conducted archaeological fieldwork at various sites in Peru, Mexico and the United States.

Past undergraduate honors advisees

Will McCollum

Will McCollum

Will McCollum (’15) is conducting research on the negotiation of religious ideologies and symbols in the Colca Valley (southern Peruvian highlands) by looking at the use of Inka cutstone masonry within the Spanish parish and church at Mawchu Llacta. He is interested in how Spanish missionaries accommodated their religious schemata to preexisting indigenous frameworks. He is taking the architectural and material construction of the church as the basis for this exploration. Will spent the summer of 2013 at the site of Mawchu Llacta, under the direction of Dr. Wernke and with a fellowship from the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Summer Research Program (VUSRP).

Kathryn DeTore

Kathryn DeTore (Vanderbilt ’09) Kathryn’s research interests center on everyday practices in domestic contexts, as well as the conceptualization of place, large and small.  Kathryn plans to pursue further education in archaeology after graduating in the spring of 2009. During the summer of 2008, through the support of a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduate grant (REU), Kathryn gained her first field season of excavation working in the Colca Valley of Peru, which allowed her to apply first hand her interest in household archaeology. She is currently working on an honors thesis based on that fieldwork, exploring issues of household economy and colonialism.

Travis Williams

Travis Williams (Vanderbilt ’09) Travis’s research interests revolve around issues of colonialism and post-colonialism in historic, indigenous contexts.  Travis is especially interested in the transformation and reconstruction of native identities in a colonial framework.  His field experiences include one field season at the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation field school in Connecticut, as well as two field seasons in the Colca Valley, Peru.  Travis is currently working on an honors thesis based on research he conducted with Professor Wernke this past summer in the Colca Valley.  His thesis is based on excavations at an Inka administrative center at the site of Malata, and explores the effects of both the Inka and colonial conquests on the relationship between space and identity of those who inhabited the site.  Travis has gone on to pursue a PhD in anthropology at the University of Michigan.