I am an anthropologically trained archaeologist with major interests in South American prehistory, ethnohistory, prehistoric agricultural systems, complex societies, and teaching techniques in anthropology. I have a Masters and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am a Full Professor of Anthropology, and I was honored by being selected as the Charles A. Dana Professor in the Social Sciences at Ithaca College in the spring of 2008.
I have been a faculty member at Ithaca College since 1989. I came as the first permanent archaeologist in the department, and, like all of us, was asked to wear many hats. As our department expanded, I have focused my teaching energies on Latin American prehistory courses, our introductory world archaeology course and a First Year Seminar on Great Mysteries of Humanity. I have also taught at the College of William and Mary, St. Lawrence University and Washington and Lee University.
My main research program has been in Peru, where I am currently involved in studies of the early occupants of the south Andes and how central coastal societies developed social inequalities. Previous research was focused on Inca and pre-Inca cultures as well. I have written or edited four books on the Incas, two published by the University of Iowa, Provincial Inca. Archaeological and Ethnohistorical Assessment of the Impact of the Inca State and a related volume (co-edited with Sonia Alconini), Distant Provinces in the Inka Empire: Toward a Deeper Understanding of Inka Imperialism. Greenwood Press published Daily Life in the Inca Empire in 1996 and a revised edition in 2009. An edition in the Iraqi language was published in 2012. I contributed several articles to the recent Encyclopedia of the Inkas (2015) as well. My textbook on western Andean prehistory, entitled Ancient People of the Andes, was published by Cornell University Press in 2016.
I love to teach and interact with students, and have taken IC students on my research in Peru many times. I find Anthropology a fascinating field, and try to impart that interest to my students. I emphasize collaborative teaching and learning in my classroom, with the expectation that students be active learners.
I am married to Susanne Kessemeier and have a son, Soren.