Jeffrey Quilter will be giving a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Thursday, February 23 at 12:15 pm. His talk is entitled “The Archaeology and History of Colonial Peru: The Case of Magdalena de Cao Viejo.”


Jeffrey Quilter is the William & Muriel Seabury Howells Director of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, posts he has held since 2012. Previously, he was Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs at the museum (2005–2012), Director of the Pre-Columbian Studies Program at Dumbarton Oaks (1995–2005), and Professor of Anthropology at Ripon College (1980–1995). A native of New York City, he received his undergraduate training at New York University and the University of Chicago and his doctorate at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Quilter’s interests range widely with field archaeology experiences in the Americas but especially in Costa Rica and mostly in Peru. Recent publications include The Ancient Central Andes (Routledge, 2014); Treasures of the Incas (Duncan Baird, 2011); and The Moche of Ancient Peru: Media and Messages (Peabody Museum Press, 2010). He is currently in residence as a Research fellow at Bard Graduate Center, where he is concentrating on his research interests in the prehistory and history of the north coast of Peru and his recent excavations of an early Peruvian colonial period town, Magdalena de Cao. His goal is to write a book on everyday life in the early colonial period in Peru.

The archaeology of the colonial period of Peru is in its infancy. Historical inquiries have dominated the field and, until recently, archaeologists have conducted little research on the topic for a host of reasons. However, this is beginning to change. In this talk, Quilter will review how and why these trends took place and present some of his research at a colonial period site, Magdalena de Cao, on the north coast of Peru. Research that encompasses history and archaeology and science and the humanities provides both new perspectives on the past as well as raises interesting questions as to how different disciplinary traditions may augment, compliment, or contradict one another.