Izumi Shimada | Anthropology | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

Izumi Shimada

Distinguished Professor Emeritus


I have a number of ongoing fieldwork and writing projects. In December, 2005, I completed the first phase (field and laboratory seasons of 2003, 2004 and 2005) of the long-term, international Pachacamac Archaeological Project, which has explored the "social foundations and environmental contexts" of the pre-eminent pre-Hispanic religious center of Pachacamac just south of the city of Lima. This project represents the final phase of my life-long, comparative study of Andean religious/ceremonial centers. Other centers I have investigated are Pampa Grande (Moche V; 1973-78) and Sicán (Middle Sicán; 1978-present). I plan to continue this interdisciplinary project for at least 10 years. Project members and I are preparing a number of manuscripts on the first long-term paleoenvironmental sequence to be established for the Peruvian coast based on analysis of diatoms, pollens, shells and sediments extracted from a lagoon, and the nature and timing of ritual offerings, as well as social identity of their performers. Yet another paper presents the results of interdisciplinary analysis of some three dozen funerary bundles found in a large, double-chambered tomb situated in front of the famed Temple of Pachacamac. AMS-dating of different parts of these funerary bundles (exterior and interior wrappings as well as preserved soft human tissues), stable isotope analysis (O, C, N & Sr) of various body parts (hair, bone, nail, etc.), mtDNA analysis of teeth, Mössbauer spectroscopy of associated ceramics, detailed technical and stylistic analysis of associated textiles and other studies are revealing not only the complex “life history” of the dead and the tomb, but also the lasting relationship between the dead and the living.

Research Interests

My research interests include complex pre-Hispanic cultures of the Andes, technology and organization of craft production, experimental archaeology, mortuary archaeology, and archaeology of religion.

During a five-month period from late July, 2006, the Sicán Archaeological Project under my direction excavated an intact Middle Sicán elite cemetery (320 m2) at the west base of the Huaca Loro temple mound at the site of Sican with the support of a grant from the Tokyo Broadcasting System. This work was a continuation of the long-term, interdisciplinary mortuary analysis that I began in 1990 to reconstruct Middle Sicán social and political organization. During this season, twenty-one burials and two cache offering pits were excavated. Currently (June-December, 2007), our project team is conducting documentation, analysis and conservation of these recovered remains at the National Sicán Museum in Ferreñafe. 

Related to my long-standing interest in mortuary archaeology is the editing of a volume entitled Living with the Dead in the Andes. This manuscript will be soon submitted to the University of Arizona Press with which I have a conditional publication contract. 

In August, 2007, Craft Production in Complex Societies: Multi-Crafting, Sequential Production, and Producers under my editorship was published by the University of Utah Press in its Foundations of Archaeology series. 

The 2003-4 academic year was spent as a Fellow in Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. My fellowship project was to write a 500-page synthesis of north Peru prehistory entitled Coastal Kingdoms of the Andes: The Archaeology of Pre-Hispanic North Peru to be published by Cambridge University Press in their Cambridge World Archaeology series. The book represents the first major archaeological synthesis of the north coast of Peru, one of the "primary centers of civilization" of the world. The book will emphasize the multi-ethnic composition and dynamics and creative dynamism between culture and environment in discussing the civilizational process of the area. This book will allow me to synthesize knowledge and insights accrued from 30 years of active archaeological research on the north coast and, at the same time, fill a major void in our published literature. 

For the past two years, I have served as one of the two scientific advisers to a two year-long exhibit, "Nasca, Wonder of the World: Messages Etched on the Desert Floor." It was inaugurated a few days ago at the National Science Museum, Tokyo. My duties included thematic design of the exhibit, selection of seven scholars (from Germany, Italy, Japan, Peru and US) to write thematic chapters for the exhibit catalog and editing of their manuscripts. I am the principal editor of the 200-page catalog that was just recently published. 

Also, I serve as the principal scientific adviser for the traveling exhibit, "Sican: Royal Tombs of Peru" that began its tour at the Nickle Arts Museum, University of Calgary and is presently at the Museum of Civilization in Quebec.


  • Anth 205: Latin American Civilizations
  • Anth 240C: Introduction to Archaeology
  • Anth 430F: Archaeology of South America
  • Anth 441B: Analytical Methods in Archaeology
  • Anth 500C: Theory and Method in Archaeology
  • Anth 514: Issues in Andean Archaeology
  • Anth 516: Mortuary Archaeology
  • Anth 568: Experimental Archaeology

Selected Publications

Shimada, Izumi (editor)
2007  Craft Production in Complex Societies: Multi-Crafting, Sequential Production, and Producers. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. 

Shimada, Izumi, and Ursel Wagner 
2007  Craft Production on the Pre-Hispanic North Coast of Peru: A Holistic Approach and Its Results. In Archaeology as Anthropology: Theoretical and Methodological Approaches, edited by James Skibo, Michael Grave and Meriam Stark. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. 

Shimada, Izumi, Tadashi Baba, Ken-ichi Shinoda, and Ono, Masahiro (editors) 
2006   Nasca, Wonder of the World: Message Etched on Desert Floor. Tokyo Broadcasting System and National Science Museum, Tokyo. 

Shimada, Izumi, Rafael Segura Llanos, Maria Rostworowski de Diez Canseco, and Hirokatsu Watanabe 
2005   Una Nueva Evaluacion de la Plaza de los Perigrinos de Pachacamac: Aportes de la Primera Campana 2003 del Proyecto Arqueologico Pachacamac. In Arqueologia de la Costa Central del Peru en los Periodos Tardios, edited by Peter Eeckhout. Boletin del Instituto Frances de Estudios Andinos 33(3): 507-538. 

Shimada, Izumi, and Jo Ann Griffin 
2005   Precious Metal Objects of the Middle Sican. In "Mysteries of the Ancient Ones." Special edition of Scientific American 15(1): 80-89. 

Shimada, Izumi, Shinoda, Ken-ichi, Bourget, Steve, Alva, Walter, and Santiago Uceda 
2005   MtDNA Analysis of Mochica and Sican Populations of Pre-Hispanic Peru. In Biomolecular Archaeology Genetic Approaches to the Past, edited by David Reed, pp. 61-92. Occasional Paper No. 32. Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. 

Shimada, Izumi 
2005   Experimental Archaeology. In Handbook of Archaeological Methods, Vol. I, edited by Herbert D.G. Maschner and Christopher Chippindale, pp. 603-642. AltaMira Press, Lanham, MD. 

Shimada, Izumi, Shinoda, Ken-ichi, Farnum, Julie, Corruccini, Robert S., and Hirokatsu Watanabe 
2004   An Integrated Analysis of Pre-Hispanic Mortuary Practices: A Middle Sican Case Study. Current Anthropology 45(3): 369-402. 

Shimada, Izumi
2002   Late Prehispanic Coastal States (in Japanese). In Illustrated History of the Inca Empire (Japanese edition of The Inca World: The Development of Pre-Columbian Peru, A.D. 1000-1534, edited by Laura Laurencich Minelli). Translated by Yoshio Masuda and Kazuyo Takeuchi, pp. 49-110. Toyo-Shorin, Tokyo. 

2001   Late Moche Urban Craft Production: A First Approximation. In Moche Art and Archaeology in Ancient Peru, edited by Joanne Pillsbury, pp. 177-205. National Gallery of Art, Studies in History of Art 63. Washington, D.C. 
2000   Late Prehispanic Coastal States. In The Inca World: The Development of Pre-Columbian Peru, A.D. 1000-1534, edited by Laura Laurencich Minelli, pp. 49-110. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 
1999   The Evolution of Andean Diversity: Regional Formations, ca. 500 B.C. - A.D. 600. In Cambridge History of Native Peoples of the Americas, edited by Frank Salomon and Stuart Schwartz, pp. 350-517. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.