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George F. Lau


BA (1990), MA (1990), Archaeological Studies, Yale University

MPhil (1996), PhD (2001), Anthropology, Yale University

Dr Lau specialises in the arts and archaeology of the Americas, especially of South America and the Central Andes.  His research on the Recuay culture of ancient Andes included excavations at the village of Chinchawas, near Huaraz and the large fortress-town of Yayno (Pomabamba), as well as collections and field studies in different regions of Peru and Europe.  He joined the SRU in 2002 after a Fellowship in Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks.

His publications focus on Amerindian societies, particularly their art, ritual, economy and cosmology.  These works examine the ways that people enmesh local social life and material things in regional processes of complexity and change (reckoning status, stylistic boundaries, interaction, political and community organisation, etc.).  He has written on warfare, death practices, architecture, ancient languages, faunal remains, and the rich chiefly imagery of finely made ceramics and stone sculpture.  For interpretations about the past, he emphasises the convergence of multiple lines of data, including archaeological, ethnographic and historical forms of evidence.  His research been funded by the National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren, Sigma-Xi, The British Academy, National Geographic and the Heinz Latin American Archaeology Program.

He has authored the books Ancient Alterity in the Andes: A Recognition of Others (2013, Routledge), Ancient Community and Economy at Chinchawas (2010, Yale Peabody Museum) and Andean Expressions: Art & Archaeology of the Recuay Culture (2011, University of Iowa Press).  He is also one of the editors for the journal World Art.


Selected publications*

2013. Ancient Alterity in the Andes: A Recognition of Others. London: Routledge. [info]


2011. Andean Expressions: Art & Archaeology of the Recuay Culture. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. [info]

2010.  The work of surfaces: object worlds and techniques of enhancement in the ancient Andes.  Journal of Material Culture 15(3), 259-286. [abstract]

2010. House forms and Recuay culture: residential compounds at Yayno (Ancash, Peru), a fortified hilltop town, AD 400-800.  Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 29, 327-351.

2010.  Ancient Community and Economy at Chinchawas (Ancash, Peru).  New Haven: Peabody Museum and Yale University Publications in Anthropology 90.  [info at Yale Univ Press]

2008.  Ancestor images in the Andes.  In Handbook of South American Archaeology (eds.) H. Silverman and W.H. Isbell, 1027-1045.  New York: Springer Science.  

2007.  Animal resources and Recuay cultural transformations at Chinchawas, North Highlands, Peru.  Andean Past 8, 449-476. [pdf]

2006.  Recuay tradition sculptures of Chinchawas, North Highlands of Ancash, Peru.  Zeitschrift für Archäeologie Aussereuropäischer Kulturen 1, 183-250.

2005.  Core-periphery relations in the Recuay hinterlands: Economic interaction at Chinchawas. Antiquity 79, 78-99.  [pdf]

2004.  Object of contention: An examination of Recuay-Moche combat imagery. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 14(2), 163-184. [pdf]

2004.  The Recuay Culture of Peru's north-central highlands: A reappraisal of chronology and its implications. Journal of Field Archaeology 29, 177-202.  [abstract]

2002.  Feasting and ancestor veneration at Chinchawas, North Highlands of Ancash, Peru. Latin American Antiquity 13, 279-304. [pdf]

*Print copies and pdfs available on request.



Art & Archaeology of Death in the New World

Precolumbian Architecture

Art and Archaeology of the Andes

Theory in Archaeology

Warfare in the New World

Art and Political Strategy in Ancient America

MA Course in the Arts of Africa, Oceania & the Americas

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