Archaeology is about community. As an archaeologist I strive to create sustainable relationships with the communities that I am a part of and interact with. An important aspect of creating sustainable relationships is public outreach. I have programmed and participated in public outreach both in Peru and the United States.
Las Huacas Activity Book Distributed to Local Chincha Schools
In 2021 the project created a workbook inspired by the artifacts found at the site of Las Huacas and the history of the Chincha Valley. The workbooks were then distributed to schools around the site of Las Huacas. Download a copy of the workbook here.
Guided Site Visit with Local Children
In August of 2022 the project took a group of local children on a guided tour around part of the site of Las Huacas. The children learned about the history of the site and about the process of archaeological research. They also heard about artifacts that have been found at the site and become more familiar with the archaeology of the region.
Chincha Merchants: Balancing the Past and Present
This project was reshaped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was originally planned to be a series of community workshops, but in the end I created a video in collaboration with Peruvian archaeologists Mary Avila Peltroche and Bryan Nuñez Aparcana, and local community member Sol Donayre Pachas. The video was designed for local children around the site of Las Huacas and asks them to think like archaeologists. At the site of Las Huacas we found a large number of balance beam fragments. These intriquing tools are not well understood in Andean prehistory and the site of Las Huacas contributes one of the largest and most diverse collections of these enigmatic artifacts.
Gordon Hall Archaeology Day
As part of the University of Michigan archaeological field methods course we held a Public Archaeology Day at Gordon Hall. Gordon Hall is a historic house located in Dexter Michigan that was possibly part of the underground railroad. At the site, students from the University of Michigan learned archaeological methods and presented what they had learned to the public. I coordinated visits from state and federal elected officials. The event showcased the importance of partnerships between communities, researchers, and elected officials.
In this activity we worked with children from around the site of Las Huacas. We shared some of the findings from research at the site and then students interviewed a professional in Cultural Heritage, such as tourist guides, archaeologists and museum specialists. Through this activity local children learned more about what careers in cultural heritage are like, the history of the site of Las Huacas, and why it is important to preserve archaeological sites.
In the Ancient Andes textiles held an important role of representing class status and ethnicity. In the Inca Empire specialized labor groups created a wide variety of textiles including fine textiles for nobility, and more common everyday items. Today, communities in the Chincha Valley are rediscovering their connection to the ancient traditions through weaving baskets made from reeds that grow near popular Chincha beaches. The YouTube video includes information from archaeological research and about bureaucratic processes associated with site preservation and devlopement for tourism.
Cultural Event with the Centro Poblado Las Huacas
The Centro Poblado Las Huacas is one of the communities next to the site of Las Huacas. In March 2019, the Proyecto de Investigación Arquelógica Las Haucas presented on their research, the history of the Chincha Valley and on the process of archaeological research. At the event community memembers asked questions and we all enjoyed the local dish of carapulcra con sopa seca.
SACNAS Scientist Spotlight with the Sault tribe of the Chippewa
This event was organized by the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Sciences (SACNAS). We went to Sault St. Marie in Michigan's upper peninsula to discuss our research with the Sault tribe of the Chippewa. At the event I discussed research from the site of Las Huacas and played "Tic Tac Inca" with the kids.
University of Michigan Natural History Museum, Science Communications Fellow
As a science communications fellow I created an outreach activity called "Tic Tac Inca". As part of my presentation, I had children play Tic Tac Toe with Inca and Chincha game pieces to understand how archaeologists can study ancient political strategies. I then volunteered at Scientist Spotlight events at the Natural History Musuem, Ann Arbor Public Library, and Erickson elementary in Ypsilanti. The events provide an opportunity for researchers to communicate their research to the public.