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Elizabeth Klarich is a Latin American archaeologist specializing in Andean prehistory, with a regional focus on the Lake Titicaca Basin of Peru and Bolivia. Her theoretical interests include the origins of inequality, the development of early cities, the nature of leadership strategies and the role of prehistory in modern identity politics. She edited Inside Ancient Kitchens: New Directions in the Study of Daily Meals and Feasts (University Press of Colorado, 2010), which features a number of case studies from across the globe. In addition to years of field experience in the Andes, Klarich has worked on archaeological projects in northern Spain, the American Southwest, coastal California and northern Sudan.
Klarich earned a B.A. from the University of Chicago and an M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. After completing her Ph.D. in 2005, she taught a variety of archaeology classes at UCSB. From 2007 to 2009, she was the assistant director of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at the University of California, Los Angeles. She joined the faculty of Smith College in the fall of 2009.
Klarich's field research focuses on the site of Pukara, an important regional center located in the southern Peruvian highlands. During the Late Formative Period (500 B.C. to A.D. 400), populations moved to Pukara and built monumental stone constructions, produced technologically sophisticated multicolored pottery and stone carvings, and intensified agro-pastoral strategies to feed the expanding site. Since 2000, Klarich has directed mapping, excavation and lab projects at Pukara. During the summers of 2009 and 2010, she taught archaeological field school programs to further explore the site's earliest settlers. For more information on her research in Pukara, see the Smith College Insight article.
In addition to archaeological research, Klarich is active in the development of the Museo Litico Pukara, the local site museum located in the adjacent town of Pucara. Research at Pukara has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Fulbright-Hays, the Heinz Foundation grant program for Latin American archaeology, the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the University of California, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.
At Smith, Klarich teaches courses in archaeological method and theory, Latin American prehistory, and more specialized courses on the prehistory of food, museum studies, early cities and ceramic analysis, among others. She is on the program advisory committees for the archaeology minor and Latin American and Latino/a studies. As a Five College faculty member, she also teaches courses at Mount Holyoke College each fall semester and at Amherst College each spring semester.