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PaleoAndes is now based at the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M University


We are seeking highly motivated graduate students to join the teamContact Dr. Kurt Rademaker at


When and by which routes did Paleoindians enter the Americas, and how did they adapt to inhabit different ecological zones?

Our group seeks to understand the timing, routes, and environmental setting of the earliest human dispersals in western South America.

We integrate archaeology, physical anthropology, genetics, and Quaternary science to study prehistoric settlement systems -  linked archaeological sites situated in multiple ecological zones from the Pacific coast to the high Andes.

This work provides information about the long-term history and co-evolution of humans and ecological systems, and the formation of landscapes.


Reid, David., Patrick Ryan Williams, Augusto Cardona Rosas, Robin Coleman Goldstein, Laure Dussubieux, Cyrus Banikazemi, and Kurt Rademaker, 2024, online in press.  Obsidian procurement and exchange at the apogee of empire: Wari political economy in Arequipa, Peru. Latin American Antiquity. doi:10.1017/laq.2023.68

Portable X-ray fluorescence and laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry of 383 obsidian artifacts from 10 sites in Arequipa, Peru. A variety of  obsidian sources, including nonlocal obsidians originating from Wari's Ayacucho heartland, were used. By the late Middle Horizon, the Wari had consolidated regional resources with the sole use of Alca-1 and Alca-4 bedrock obsidians.

Rademaker, Kurt, 2024, online in press. Updated Peru archaeological radiocarbon database, 20,000-7000 14C BP Quaternary International.

Update to the Peruvian archaeological radiocarbon database for the Late Pleistocene to early Middle Holocene. The new database (version 2) includes 493 radiocarbon dates spanning 20,000 to 7000 14C BP. The paper examines distributions of archaeological sites through time, beginning with basic site and date frequencies, progresing to Bayesian analysis of aggregated radiocarbon dates.

Menaker, Alexander and Kurt Rademaker, 2023. Obsidian from the Valley of Volcanoes, Peru. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 51: 104173.

Portable x-ray fluorescence provenance analysis of obsidian artifacts from archaeological sites in the Andagua valley of southern Peru. Obsidian was brought to the valley from the Alca obsidian source on the adjacent plateau and from the distant sources Chivay and Quispisisa. Lack of evidence for Wari or Tiwanaku presence in the valley suggests that decentralized exchange systems linked people in the valley to neighboring and distant groups.


Meinekat, Sarah, Emily B. P. Milton, Brett Furlotte, Sonia Zarrillo, and Kurt Rademaker, 2023. Fire as high-elevation cold adaptation: An evaluation of fuels and Terminal Pleistocene combustion in the central Andes. Quaternary Science Reviews 316(108244):1-22.

Our review indicates widespread fire use in the Late Pleistocene occupations of the high Andes of South America. Experimental combustion highlights multiple effective fuels in the Puna ecoregion, and microscopic ash analysis of experimental and archaeological materials suggests early use of Azorella compacta cushion plants as a high-temperature fuel.

Click here to see more publications.

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