Emily Baca's picture

Emily Baca

Graduate Research Assistant


     I am a Peruvian archaeologist and received my B.A. in Archaeology from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (UNMSM), Lima. After obtaining a two-year Fulbright scholarship (2008-10), I enrolled in the joint Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois at Chicago and The Field Museum. Earning my Master’s degree in Anthropology in 2010, I advanced to Ph.D. in Fall 2012.

     Previously, I acquired a solid and vast professional and fieldwork experience, as well as extensive training in laboratory analysis by participating and directing several archaeological research projects in the Andes. Early in my career, I conducted investigations in Inca-era (A.D. 1400-1532) coastal settlements (Baca 2001), and analyzed architectural components and ceramic materials recovered during our excavations at Uquira, the largest Inca settlement in the Asia Valley (Baca 2005). My research at Uquira provided an initial understanding of the interaction between coastal non-state societies and the Inca empire reaching beyond the ethnohistoric references to imperial expansion of this area (Espinosa 1973; Rostworowski 1978-80). Later, during my training in the Archaeometry Program at UNMSM Department of Physics, I examined compositional and technological aspects of archaeological materials (i.e. ceramics, pigments, and metals) recovered from Uquira (Baca et al 2006, 2008).

     Currently, my research investigates the differing economic participation that intermediate elites and commoners of a non-state coastal society engaged with The Inca empire (A.D. 1400-1532), the largest ancient economic system ever recorded in the Americas. To examine economic participation, I focus on imperial and local ceramic distribution and consumption patterns of intermediate elites and commoners in the Asia Valley, Central Coast, Peru.My research implements innovative methodological approaches to study economy of exchange by conducting elemental analysis of imperial and local ceramics with laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Using archaeological data, my investigation offers opportunities to expand developing theories of imperial expansion and provincial economy in modern and ancient settings.  

Additional Information


2012       PhD. Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Chicago.

2010       Masters of Arts in Anthropology, University of Illinois at Chicago.

2005       Diploma in Archaeometry, School of Sciences, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru (First Class Honors)

1999       Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology, School of Social Sciences, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru (First Class Honors)


Andean Archaeology, Inka Empire, Political Economy, Complex Societies, Intermediate Elites, Ceramic Analysis, and Archaeometry