Sara Becker (2013) edit
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Current position: Assistant Professor
Current affiliation: University of California - Riverside
Research website: Link
Research description: Dr. Becker is a bioarchaeologist with studies in both North and South America covering ancient labor practices in emerging complex societies, gendered labor, biomechanics, and the health and diet of Native American groups during the European contact period. Her primary interests include modelling and reconstruction of prehistoric labor among the Tiwanaku culture (ca. A.D. 500-1100) of Bolivia and Peru, one of the earliest state-level societies to develop in the altiplano of the Lake Titicaca Basin. This multiethnic culture predates the Inca by approximately 1,000 years and Tiwanaku was able to control vast high and low elevation South Central Andean regions through nontraditional and mostly nonviolent methods, especially when compared to contemporaneous state-level societies. Using skeletal markers of activity on human bone, Dr. Becker documents the formation of this high elevation state (3800m/12,500 ft. a.s.l.) and its development of labor reciprocity as an inclusionary method that kept this complex society functioning for over 500 years. Current projects expand osteological information through recording additional activity patterns on skeletal anatomy in areas of the hands, feet, and spine, adding to the understanding of how groups lived and worked within this region. In addition, future research explores computer-aided motion capture modeling of traditional activities among Andean Aymara people, the likely descendants of the Tiwanaku.
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