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Sonia Alconini

Associate Professor


Sonia Alconini


Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2002


(210) 458-4411


MH 4.03.28


Department of Anthropology
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249



I specialize in the archaeology of complex societies of the pre-Columbian World, including ancient empires and states. My particular areas of interest are settlement pattern analysis, GIS in archaeology, ethnohistory and household archaeology. During the past years, my research has focused on the Inka empire and Tiwanaku, both located in the Andes. With the Inka, my research seeks to understand not only how this ancient empire structured its frontiers, but also the effects of the Inka frontier on local populations and indigenous socioeconomic processes. My current research on the Inka frontier in the region of Charazani, Bolivia, is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Wenner Gren Foundation.


I believe that teaching involves a constant process of learning in a challenging, interactive environment. I consider that students should not only learn the principles of archaeology, but also have ‘hands-on’ experience on archaeological research. In my classes I emphasize the use of simulated research and group exercises in order to promote critical thinking in the reconstruction of the past.

Representative Publications

2010 – Distant Provinces in the Inka Empire: Toward a Deeper Understanding of Inka Imperialism. Edited by Michael Malpass and Sonia Alconini. University of Iowa Press, Iowa.
2008 – El Inkario en los Valles del Sur Andino Boliviano: Los Yamparas entre la arqueología y etnohistoria. Edited by Sonia Alconini. BAR International Series No. 1868, South American Archaeology Series, Oxford.
1995 – Rito, Símbolo e Historia en la Pirámide de Akapana, Tiwanaku: un Análisis de Cerámica Ceremonial Prehispánica. Editorial Acción, La Paz-Bolivia.

2010 –
Alliances and Local Prestige: Yampara Households and Communal Evolution in the Southeastern Inka Peripheries. In Distant Provinces in the Inka Empire: Toward a Deeper Understanding of Inka Imperialism. Edited by Michael Malpass and Sonia Alconini. University of Iowa Press, Iowa.
2009 – La Frontera Inka y los Grupos Guarani-Chiriguanos al Este del Chaco Boliviano: Perspectivas Arqueológicas y Etnohistóricas. In La Arqueología y la Etnohistoria: Un Encuentro Andino, edited by John R. Topic, pp. 203-242. Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, Lima-Perú.
2008 – Dis-embedded Centers and Architecture of Power in the Fringes of the Inka Empire: New Perspectives on Territorial and Hegemonic Strategies of Domination. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 27:63-81.
2005 – Military and Cultural Imperial Frontiers: Dynamics and Settlement Patterns of the Southeastern Inka Frontier. In Untaming the Frontier in Anthropology, Archaeology and History, edited by Bradley Parker and Lars Rodseth, pp. 115-146. University of Arizona Press, Arizona.
2004 – The Southeastern Inka Frontier Against the Chiriguanos: Structure and Dynamics of the Inka Imperial Borderlands. Latin American Antiquity 15(4):389-418.