January 2022: Anna Guengerich

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Lost Cities of the Cloud Forest: Archaeology in the Eastern Andes

Anna Guengerich, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Eckerd College

Located between the Andes Mountains range and the tropical forests of the Amazon Basin, the Eastern Andes were long assumed to be too rugged, too rainy, and too dense with vegetation to support the development of large, culturally complex human populations. But with recent discoveries of the large scale of populations in the ancient Amazon—including the impacts they had on shaping the supposedly “natural” rainforests of this region—archaeologists have begun to reconsider their assumptions about the high-altitude cloud forests of the Eastern Andes. This talk will explore some of the findings from ten years of research into how human societies flourished in this challenging environment for at least two thousand years, and what this might tell us about current efforts of land management in one of the world’s global biodiversity hotspots.

Anna Guengerich is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Eckerd College. She has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Peru and Bolivia since 2007 and has directed the Tambillo Archaeological Project since 2010. Her research focuses on household architecture and human impacts on high-altitude forest environments in South America, and she also is interested in the use of comics, graphic novels, and other visual media in archaeology.