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Nicola Sharratt

Assistant Professor    

Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, 2011


Archaeology, Andean South America


Nicola Excavating a Tiwanaku vesselAfter receiving her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011, Dr. Sharratt held post-doctoral fellowships at the Field Museum of Natural History and the American Museum of Natural History/Bard Graduate Center. She joined the anthropology department at Georgia State University in 2014.

Her ongoing archaeological project examines the aftermath of state collapse and how local communities are affected by and respond to political upheaval. She has directed a series of excavations at a site in the Moquegua Valley in southern Peru that was first established circa AD 1000 as the Tiwanaku state disintegrated. Her doctoral work examined funerary practices to understand how community members renegotiated identity and define themselves as groups and individuals as the overarching political entity fragmented. In more recent excavation seasons, she has focused on domestic contexts to investigate the impact of state collapse on household economies, craft production, subsistence practices, community organization and long distance networks of trade and exchange.

Supported by NSF funding, the next stage of the project is investigating the end of this community. Around AD 1250, Tiwanaku materials and practices disappear from the site and from the region more broadly. Dr. Sharratt and team members are examining the social processes that resulted in the drastic disappearance of Tiwanaku affiliated communities after several centuries of cultural continuity and resilience.

Undergraduate and graduate students have been critical members of all the excavation teams working with Dr. Sharratt. Field schools at the site have offered training to numerous undergraduates and data from the research has been used in several thesis projects by both US and Peruvian students. She looks forward to continuing to provide field and laboratory opportunities to students.

In her research Dr. Sharratt incorporates p-XRF (portable X-ray florescence) and LA-ICP-MS (laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) analyses of archaeological materials. As part of a Field Museum team, she has conducted a series of geo-archaeological projects that sourced and compositionally characterized clays from several regions of the Andes, and conducted ethno-archaeological research with contemporary potters.

nicola bookDr. Sharratt has worked extensively with museums in the US and in Latin America. In her archaeological project she collaborates closely with the Contisuyo Museo, a regional museum in Peru and has curated temporary exhibitions there. In the US, she curated an exhibition on archaeological and ethnographic coca bags from the Andes, which opened in New York City in 2014. It situated these elaborate craft objects in their social and political context, by highlighting how their production and consumption is intimately tied to perceptions of the coca they hold, a substance that is deeply embedded in social and ritual practice in the Andes but that is increasingly derided on the global stage. As part of this project she published the 2014 book ‘Carrying Coca: 1500 years of Andean Chuspas.’



  • 2014  Sharratt, N. Carrying Coca: 1500 Years of Andean Chuspas. Bard Graduate Center: New York. Distributed by Yale University Press.


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

  • 2019 Sharratt, N. ‘Tiwanaku’s Legacy: a Chronological Reassessment of the terminal Middle Horizon in the Moquegua Valley, Peru.’ Latin American Antiquity. Published online June 2019.
  • 2019 Sharratt, N., S. deFrance & P. R. Williams ‘Spanish Colonial Networks of Production: Earthenware Storage Vessels from the Peruvian Wine Industry.’ International Journal of Historical Archaeology 23(3): 651-677.
  • 2019  Lowman, S. A , B. L. Turner ‘Bioarchaeology of Social Transition: a diachronic study of health at Tumilaca la Chimba, Peru.’ ., N. Sharratt International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 29(1): 62-72.
  • 2017  Sharratt, N. ‘Steering Clear of the Dead: Avoiding Ancestors in the Moquegua Valley, Peru.’ American Anthropologist 119(4): 645-661.
  • 2017  Parker, B. J. and . ‘Fragments of the Past: Applying Microarchaeological Techniques to Use Surfaces at Tumilaca La Chimba, Moquegua, Peru.’ N. Sharratt Advances in Archaeological Practice 5(1): 71-92.
  • 2016 Sharratt, N. ‘Collapse and Cohesion: Building Community in the Aftermath of Tiwanaku State Breakdown.’ World Archaeology 48(1): 144-163.
  • 2015  Sharratt, N., M. Golitko & P. R. Williams. ‘Pottery Production, Regional Exchange and State Collapse during the Middle Horizon (A.D. 500-1000): LA-ICP-MS analyses of Tiwanaku pottery in the Moquegua Valley, Perú.’ Journal of Field Archaeology 40(4): 397-412.
  • 2010  Sutter, R. and . ‘Continuity and Transformation during the Terminal Middle Horizon (A.D. 950-1150): A Bioarchaeological Assessment of Tumilaca Origins within the Middle Moquegua Valley, Peru.’ N. Sharratt Latin American Antiquity 21(1): 67-86.
  • 2009  Sharratt, N., M. Golitko, P. R. Williams, and L. Dussubieux. ‘Ceramic Production during the Middle Horizon: Wari and Tiwanaku Clay Procurement in the Moquegua Valley, Peru.’ Geoarchaeology 24(6): 792-820.


Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

  • 2016  Sharratt, N. ‘Crafting a Response to Collapse: Ceramic and Textile Production in the Wake of Tiwanaku State Breakdown. In R. Faulseit (ed). Beyond Collapse: CAI Occasional Paper no. 42: 407-430. Carbondale Il: SIU Press.
  • 2016  Golitko, M., & P. R. Williams. ‘Open Cell Ablation of Killke and Inka Pottery from the Cuzco Area: Museum collections as repositories of provenience information.’ In L. Dussubieux, M. Golitko & B. Gratuze (eds). N. Sharratt Recent Advances in Laser Ablation ICP-MS for Archaeology: 27-52.New York: Springer.
  • 2015  Sharratt, N. ‘Viviendo y Muriendo en medio de la efervescencia política: excavaciones en una aldea Tiwanaku terminal (950-1150 D.C) del valle de Moquegua, Perú.’ In A. Korpisaari & J. Chacama R. (eds). El Horizonte Medio en los Andes Centro Sur: Nuevos aportes sobre la arqueología del sur de Perú, norte de Chile y altiplano de Bolivia: 201-223. Lima, Peru: Travaux de l’Institut Français d’Etudes Andines (IFEA).


Other Publications

  • 2015  Piscitelli, M., S. Chacaltana Cortez, , M. Golitko & P. R. Williams. ‘Inferring Ceramic Production, Social N. Sharratt Interaction, and Political Dynamics in the Moquegua Valley through Geochemical Analysis. In I. C. Druc (ed). Ceramic Analysis in the Andes. Proceedings of the Session on Andean Ceramic Characterization, Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting
  • 2014, Austin Texas: 103-121. Blue Mounds WI: Deep University Press.
  • 2013  K. Keramidas & . ‘Weaving Stories between the Material, Immaterial and Ephemeral: Designing Digital Interactives for Socially Complex Objects in an Exhibition Setting.’ In L. Levitt (ed). N. Sharratt Tokens and Talismans in digital spaces: meaning in the absence of materiality. The New Everyday, MediaCommons.
  • 2012  Sharratt, N., P. R. Williams, M. C. Lozada, and J. Starbird. ‘Late Tiwanaku Mortuary Patterns in the Moquegua Drainage, Peru: Excavations at the Tumilaca la Chimba Cemetery.’ In A. Vranich, E. Klarich & C. Stanish (eds). Advances in Titicaca Basin Archaeology III: 193-203. Ann Arbor: Museum of Anthropology Publications.
  • 2011  Sharratt, N. ‘Identity Negotiation during Tiwanaku State Collapse.’ In L. Amundsen-Meyer, N. Engel & S. Pickering (eds) Identity Crisis: Archaeological Perspectives on Social Identity. Proceedings of the 42: 167-177. University of Calgary: Calgary, Alberta, Canada. nd (2010) Annual Chacmool Conference
  • 2009  Chacaltana-Cortez, S. and . ‘International Collaboration and US Training; Peruvian and British Perspectives.’ N. Sharratt SAA Archaeological Record 9(4): 19-20.


Book Reviews

  • 2018 Review of Crisis to Collapse. The Archaeology of Social Breakdown, edited by Tim Cunningham and Jan Driessen, 2017. Landscape History 39(1): 122-123.
  • 2016  Review of Space-Time Perspectives on Early Colonial Moquegua, by Prudence M. Rice,
  • Cambridge Archaeological Journal 26(2): 377-378.