Project Personnel

Research in Moquegua is a collaborative enterprise. Investigators pursue independent Research questions but share a common goal to understand settlement in Moquegua. Since 1999 the research has followed a standard excavation methodology to facilitate comparisons and statistical analysis.


Donna Nash, Ph.D.

University of North Carolina at Greensboro
426 Graham Building, UNCG, PO Box 26170
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
voice 336.334.5132
fax 336.334.5674

Donna Nash received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida and has been conducting archaeological research in Peru since 1993. She joined the faculty at UNCG in 2010. Dr. Nash examines how leaders in early states established and maintained their power. In particular she studies how buildings were designed for specific activities and recently has focused on palaces and the houses of elite members of society to understand how the lives of the powerful were different from other members of society. Her research looks specifically at the Wari Empire (AD600-1000) and their settlement in the Moquegua region of southern Peru (Osmore River drainage), having excavated at the sites of Cerro Baúl and Cerro Mejía. Investigations in Moquegua have been supported by funding from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, Heinz Foundation, Curtiss T. and Mary G. Brennan Foundation, the Field Museum, the University of Florida, and the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Dr. Nash has written a number of reports detailing her finds, published book chapters and articles, and presented her research at a number of conferences. To access these works go to the publications page. Click her for a recent copy of her CV.

Susan deFrance, Ph.D.


Sofía Chacaltana Cortez

Sofía Chacaltana Cortez is the Project's 2011 Co-director and an ABD-Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is interested in understanding how local communities located in marginal territories of the Andes are transformed by diverse types of imperial powers and influences during the late pre-Hispanic and early colonial periods. She uses multiple types of data and methodologies, such as LA-ICP-MS readings of ceramics, macro- and micro-botanical remains as well as historical accounts to observe the ways local economies, social organizations, local identities and inter- and intra-regional interactions of small Andean communities of the southern Andes changed under imperial integration and interaction. She is also interested in observing the ways domestic and economic spaces were altered to imperial and political types of economies by their connection to imperial powers and labor requirements. She specializes in archaeology and gender as well as in the careful investigation of colonial documents.

Emily Baca

Matthew Biwer

Matthew Biwer, M.A.Matthew Biwer is a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his M.A. in Anthropology from UCSB in 2011 and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. He has been conducting research in the Moquegua Valley, Peru since 2009. His work focuses on Andean empires, specifically the Wari Empire (600-1000A.D.), considering feasting, power, and food and the interplay between elites and non-elites within these contexts. Matthew has been a Teaching Assistant for Dr. Nash's Field School for the past three field seasons: 2009, 2010, and 2011.


David Reid

David Reid received his B.A. from the University of Maine and has been working on archaeological projects in Peru since 2006. He has led geoarchaeological investigations of sites on the far north coast of Peru—researching the connections between human culture, El Niño/ENSO events, and landscape alteration episodes. Before joining the team at Cerro Mejía as a Teaching Assistant for the 2011 Field Season, David worked on formative and early preceramic sites in the high Andes as well as on the coast, including the Los Morteros mound site. His interests include the applications of remote sensing (GPR), geochemical sourcing of archaeological materials, connections between humans and changes in their environments, as well as conducting backpacking surveys in currently marginal environments.

Emily Schach

Emily Schach is an Anthropology Ph.D. student at Arizona State University specializing in bioarchaeology. She is a recent convert to Andean archaeology as her MA focused on the Middle Woodland Period of North America. Emily's research primarily focuses on the archaeology of social identities as approached through the use of bioarchaeological methods, including skeletal and chemical analyses. She completed archaeological fieldwork in Thailand, Bolivia, and Peru and worked with archaeological collections from Ohio, Peru, and Jordan before joining the Project as a Teaching Assistant for the 2011 Field Season.


Edward Zegarra

Edward Zegarra is working towards a Ph.D. in Anthropology/Archaeology at SUNY Binghamton in upstate New York and was a Teaching Assistant for Dr. Nash's 2011 Field School. His research focuses on early state organization, imperial growth, and the development of power relations in mid-late Andean prehistory. He is currently writing a master's thesis examining the chronology of Wari expansion throughout the southern realm, and has further interests in indigenous archaeology and heritage management.


Emma H. Thomas

Emma is an undergraduate senior at UNCG majoring in Anthropology, Human Development & Family Studies, and Women's and Gender Studies. This 2011 field season at Cerro Mejía, Emma participated in her first archaeological field school and was funded by the Archaeological Institute of America's Jane C. Waldbaum Archaeological Field School Scholarship for first-time field students and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for study abroad students. In addition to her work in the field, Emma conducted research with Dr. Nash for her Senior Honors Project on the taphonomy of animal bone at Cerro Mejía. Her research was largely experimental and she is currently conducting the preliminary analysis of the collected data. This undergraduate research was funded by UNCG's Office of Undergraduate Research for the Summer and Fall 2011 semesters. Emma's interests include ethnozooarchaeology and modern Peruvian gender roles. To learn more about Emma's research, check out her Senior Honors Project. Information about how Emma navigated the study abroad experience in Peru is available at Studying Abroad: A Peruvian Experience!