I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago specializing in Andean archaeology. Graduating from Boston University in 2007, I have a degree in both archaeology and anthropology. My primary research focus is on understanding the evolution of complex political systems. I am also interested in archaeological science, specifically the application of techniques such as GIS, remote sensing, geochemical analysis, and micromorphology to anthropological questions.
I have carried out archaeological research at the Middle Horizon (A.D. 500-1,000) site of Tiwanaku on the Bolivian altiplano and the Middle Horizon Wari settlement of Cerro Mejía in Moquegua, Peru. Most recently, I have investigated the very initial emergence of hierarchical, complex polities on the Peruvian coast in a region known as the Norte Chico ("Little North"). I am also part of the Proyecto Arqueológico Norte Chico (PANC) directed by Jonathan Haas, Winifred Creamer, and Alvaro Ruiz. For the past 10 years, PANC has been studying early complex polities that date to the Late Archaic Period (3,000-1,800 B.C.).
In 2012, I initiated my own dissertation research to explore a particular type of ritual architecture in ancient Peru called a Mito temple which, despite a 40-year-old model, may in fact be a coastal phenomenon. Through the Huaricanga Archaeological Research Project (HARP) I hope to learn more about the development and spread of early forms of religion in South America and elsewhere in the prehistoric world. Furthermore, using a multidisciplinary approach I plan on reconstructing ancient ritual in order to understand how early leaders used religion as a base of power in the earliest complex societies in the New World.
Current Ph.D. Candidate, University of Illinois at Chicago
2009 M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago
2007 B.A., Boston University
Andean prehistory, ceremonial architecture, household archaeology, development of complex societies, remote sensing, Geographic Information Systems, geoarchaeology, archaeological chemistry
I am currently conducting my dissertation fieldwork which focuses on the distribution of a particular type of small-scale ritual architecture in Peru during the Late Archaic (3,000-1,800 BC). Dr. Jonathan Haas and I are also researching the foundations of warfare using the archaeological record to demonstrate that perhaps human beings are not inherently violent and thus ethnographic and ethological models to infer about the past must be used with extreme caution. More specifically, I am documenting all known instances of human remains that date before 8,000 BC (the onset of agriculture in the Old World). In addition, I am part of two research teams sourcing ceramics in the pre-Hispanic Philippines and Inka Period Peru in order to learn more about ancient political economy.
2013-Present Instructor, University of Illinois at Chicago
2010-Present Graduate Research Assistant, The Field Museum
2007-2012 Teaching Assistant, University of Illinois at Chicago
2012 National Science Foundation, Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (No. 1249577) for “Ritual is Power: Small-Scale Late Archaic Ceremonial Architecture in the Norte Chico” ($22104).
2012 The Curtiss T. & Mary G. Brennan Foundation Grant for Archaeological Field Research for "Ritual is Power: Investigating Late Archaic Temple Structures on the North Central Coast of Peru" ($5000).
2012 National Geographic Society Young Explorer's Grant for "The Mito Architectural Tradition on the North Central Coast of Peru during the Late Archaic" ($5000).
2011 UIC Chancellor's Graduate Research Fellowship for "Using Modern Tools to Reconstruct Ancient Ritual in Peru" ($8000).
2011 Women’s Board Field Dreams Program for "Reconstructing Everyday Life in Ancient Peru" ($2500).
2011 Archaeometry Research Grant for “A Geochemical Study of Decorated Earthenware Production and Distribution in the Philippine Trading Polity of Tanjay” ($891).
2010 Provost’s Award for Graduate Research for “Predictive Mapping of Late Archaic Domestic Structures in the Norte Chico, Peru” ($1200).
2008 Charles Reed Memorial Fund for travel to Peru ($1000).
2006-07 BU Student Research Grant on Latin America ($1400).
2006-07 BU Funded Research Opportunities Grant ($500).
Society for American Archaeology
American Anthropological Association
Phi Beta Kappa
Lambda Alpha National Collegiate Honor Society for Anthropology
Haas, Jonathan and Matthew Piscitelli
in press “The Rise of Andean Pre-Inca Civilizations: Introduction.” In The Oxford Companion to Archaeology edited by Neil Asher Silberman. New York: Oxford University Press.
2013 "The Prehistory of Warfare: Misled by Ethnography and Ethology.” In War, Peace, and Human Nature edited by Douglas P. Fry, pp. 168-190. New York: Oxford University Press.
2012 “Connecticut (consumption, waste collection and disposal).” In Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste edited by Carl A. ZImring, pp. 145-147. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
Piscitelli, Matthew and Samuel Duwe
2007 “Choosing an Archaeological Field School.” The SAA Archaeological Record 7(1): 9-11.
Latest blog entries
|April 02nd, 2013||Using Modern Technology to Construct Ancient Ritual|
|November 07th, 2012||Flakes, Cores, and Groundstones Oh My!|
|June 20th, 2012||Ritual is Power (and so is the Web!)|
|March 07th, 2012||The 40th Annual Midwest Conference on Andean and Amazonian Archaeology and Ethnohistory|
|September 24th, 2011||Temples, Nerves and Open Bar: Founders' Frontiers Symposium & Dinner|