I am an anthropological archaeologist who studies households and the daily practices of commoners in the ancient past. In other words, I am interested in the how the decisions made by ordinary people—the “99 percent”—influence the development of broader economic and political systems. Since 2003, I have worked at the site of Xaltocan in the northern Basin of Mexico, focusing on the period following the collapse of the powerful state of Teotihuacan (circa A.D. 650) and leading up to the rise of the Aztec Empire (A.D. 1428). I am specifically interested in understanding how people adapted and strategized during periods of upheaval and rapid development. My research has explored the relationship between household production and the development of complex societies, the role of household ritual in driving commodity consumption, and the construction of social identities in the face of shifting political economies. My research takes a gendered perspective, exploring gender relations and topics of inequality in domestic and public contexts. It also highlights the importance of childhood to understanding the past. Finally, I am interested in indigenous and European interactions during the colonial period in Mexico and North America. My current research takes me beyond Xaltocan, to study small rural communities throughout the Basin of Mexico. In addition to Mexico, I have also worked in the Southwest U.S. and the Basque region of France.
Interests: Mesoamerica (Central Mexico/Aztecs), household archaeology, political economy, complex societies, gender and identity, ceramics, food production, microanalysis, soil chemistry, childhood, ethnicity, social inequality, historical archaeology and colonialism, bioarchaeology.