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Anthropologist-Archaeologist Puerto Rican, from Santurce, Cangrejero! . BA, MA, and Ph.D.-ABD (Temple University)
Acted as Director of the Archaeology Department as well as of the Historic Monuments Department, both of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña.
Consultant to the OAS Cultural Affairs Department (1992) and directed and carried out the first archaeological survey of the Panama Canal Zone (1979) with a 4 person crew consisting of 3 Puerto Rican archaeotechnicians and one US archaeology student. Worked in the field on Haiti, Cuba, Granada, as well as Vieques, Culebra, Mona and in many regions of Puerto Rico
Have been teaching as Adjunct Professor for over 15 years at UPR-Rio Piedras and lately at UPR-Mayaguez.
Recently created, with the active collaboration of Dr. Juan Carlos Martinez Cruzado - Molecular Biologist- an advanced course titled "Multidisciplinary Archaeology" which is unique in all of the UPR system and is only taught at UPR-Mayaguez Campus. The purpose is to open and explore the many possibilities that are there when the historical and prehistorical past is studied from a multidisciplinary perspective. Students come from chemical engineering, geology, philosophy, computer science, chemistry, history, microbiology and anthropology.
Methodological issues interest me and include remote sensing, GIS, stratigraphy, chemical methods of detection of microscopic plant remains, mapping techniques and stratigraphic analysis for archaeology.
I'm interested in the teaching and communicating of historical and archaeological information and the relevance to present day subject matters (e.g. ecological impact of social practices, relationship of technology to social change, war and politics, for ex.)
My teaching strategy is that students of any age learn more and better when the topic is contextualized within an on-going, active research project.
My main interests are the relation of food production to social change during de 4th to 10th centuries a.D. and the historical connection of that process to Chiefdom societies. I'm interest into how and why societies change from a kin (family) based organization to a power (class) based society.
This research topic has taken me into tropical adaptations of plants and animals and the use people in antiquity made of them. The relationship between production and distribution of surplus and social and political arrangements that ensue are part of the research focus. This includes focus on such data as the content and shape of ancient villages,their size, location and environmental context.
The relationship of prehistoric groups to each other in relation to political and economic power may be better understood by understanding their genetic affiliations. This observation has led me to the application of bio-molecular data worked by Dr. Martinez Cruzado (UPR-Mayaguez) to diverse archaeological problems (see above) in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. At present we have joined forces in order to obtain new archaeological samples from controlled excavations for the extraction of human bone samples for ancient DNA. This in turn will be compared to present day mDNA data already obtained by Dr. Martínez Cruzado.
This diverse approach is being consolidated in a long term research project proposed for the West coast of Puerto Rico, centered on the study and excavation of an ancient Pre Taino Village sit. This site is of inmense proportions by amerindian standards, measuring almost half a kilometer along its east-west axis and over 200 meters along its north- suth axis. The village site has evidence of a 2nd village under it as well as burials, houses, middens (concentrations of prehistoric trash) and thousands of artifacts fragments including ceramics and stone tools. our initial survey and testing has yielded extremely reliable data, which include one adult burial as well as at least 2 cutural components which may eventually be as many as 4.
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