Semester of Graduation

Summer 2021


Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



Located in the Nepeña Valley of north-central Peru, Cerro San Isidro was first documented in the 1930s when the valley was initially surveyed. While numerous sites along the valley, particularly those located in the lower valley, have been extensively researched since this initial survey, members of the Proyecto de Investigación Arqueológica Cerro San Isidro (PIACSI) conducted the first formal excavations in 2019. My thesis project analyzes the ceramic artifacts – in particular pottery fragments – from that field season in order to evaluate continuity and change in morphological and technical styles from the Early Horizon through the Late Intermediate Periods (ca. 600 BCE – 1450 CE). I analyze 518 rim and decorated pot sherds and focus on 11 variables. The formal, technological, and stylistic analyses emphasize vessel shape, firing temperatures, and decorative elements, respectively. The study addresses the larger research questions regarding our chronological understanding of ancient Peru, including the traditional practice of identifying sites by particular stylistic patterns of ceramics. By determining continuities in the ceramic traditions, this study reexamines our understanding of ceramic traditions in the middle Nepeña Valley. Anthropologically, the analysis explores ancient artistic practices and technical choices of makers and potters.

Committee Chair

Chicoine, David