Dr. Daniel H. Sandweiss

Dan Sandweiss in SechuraProfessor of Anthropology and Quaternary and Climate Studies,
Cooperating Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences and Global Policy

Ph.D., Cornell University, 1989
M.A., Cornell University, 1983
B.A., Yale University, 1979

Sandweiss CV March 2023



Professional Interests:

I am an archaeologist interested in maritime adaptations and climate change in Latin America. Most of my research has been carried out on the desert coast of Peru, but I have also worked in Central America (Honduras and Guatemala) and in Cuba. In Peru, I have worked on early (preceramic) sites, studying climate change and its effects on people. This focus has led to an interest in the prehistory of El Niño, a global climatic perturbation first recognized in Peru and now known to affect weather throughout the world. My research has included developing a variety of techniques for identifying ancient El Niño events. I have also worked on the archaeology of complex, late prehistoric sites in Peru, studying such topics as the role of specialized fishermen in the Inca empire and the nature and function of a major regional center on the north coast. I continue to evaluate the hypothesis that the north Peruvian coast experienced major climate changes involving El Niño frequency at about 5,800 and 2900 years ago.

In 1987 I founded the peer-reviewed publication series Andean Past and continue on the editorial staff. Andean Past was published by the Cornell University Latin American Studies Program through Volume 11 and is now published by the University of Maine as an open access, online journal. I am also an editor of Chungara Revista Chilena de Antropología and on the Editorial Boards of Latin American Antiquity, Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, and Boletín de Arqueología PUCP. Since its founding in 2017, I have been a Co-Chair of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Archaeology and Education.

I was President of the Scientific Committee for FERCO (Foundation for Research and Exploration on Cultural Origins), a Canary Island foundation, from 1998-2002, and Chair of the Society for American Archaeology’s Committee on the Americas (2004-2008, 2018-2020). From 2005-2007, I was a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer. In 2008, 2012, and 2019 I received Presidential Recognition Awards from the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), in 2016 I received the Rip Rapp Archaeological Geology Award from the Geological Society of America, and in 2017 I received the University of Maine Presidential Award for Research and Creative Achievement.

In Fall 2014, I was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and since spring of 2017 I have been a fellow of the Geological Society of America. I was an elected member of the SAA Board of Directors from 2014-2017 and a member of the Board of the Maine Chapter of the Fulbright Association from 2012-2019 (Vice-President from 2014-2018). At UMaine, I was Dean and Associate Provost for Graduate Studies (2005-2014), Director of the School of Policy and International Affairs (2016-2018), and a Rising Tide Professor (2018-2020).

I recently finished a seven year term as Chair of the R.S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology Advisory Council; I am currently the President of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, and Vice-President of the Institute for Andean Research Board. I am the Chief Cooperating Curator of UMaine’s Hudson Museum.

Anyone interested in receiving email bulletins related to Andean archaeology should email me a request to join the Andean list.

I published a short book of photographs from my trips to Latin America. An e-version is available here.

See Climate Change Institute.


Selected Archaeology Publications: (see here for selected climate change publications)

Sandweiss, D.H. and K.A. Maasch
2022 Climatic and Cultural Transitions in Lambayeque, Peru, 600 to 1540 AD: Medieval Warm Period to the Spanish Conquest. Geosciences 12: doi.org/10.3390/geosciences12060238.
Mauricio, A.C., R. Grieseler , A.R. Heller , A.R. Kelley, F. Rumiche, D.H. Sandweiss, and W. Viveen
2021 The Earliest Adobe Monumental Architecture in the Americas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118(48): e2102941118.
Hamley, K.M., J.L. Gill, K.E. Krasinski, D.V. Groff, B.L. Hall, D.H. Sandweiss, J.R. Southon, P. Brickle, and T.V. Lowell
2021 Evidence of prehistoric human activity in the Falkland Islands. Science Advances 7: eabh3803.

Roscoe, P.B., D.H. Sandweiss, and E. Robinson
2021 Population Density and Size Facilitate Interactive Capacity and the Rise of the State. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 376: 20190725.
Sandweiss, D.H. and K.A. Maasch
2020 El Niño as Catastrophe on the Peruvian Coast. In Going Forward by Looking Back, ed. by F. Riede and P. Sheets, pp. 947-1021. Berghahn Books, Oxford & New York.

Rick, T.C. and D.H. Sandweiss
2020  Archaeology, Climate, and Global Change in the Age of Humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(15):8250-8253.

Prieto, G. and D.H. Sandweiss, editors
2020  Maritime Communities of the Ancient Andes. University Press of Florida.

Jones, K.B., G.W. Hodgins, and D.H. Sandweiss 2019. Radiocarbon Chronometry of Site QJ-280, Quebrada Jaguay, a Terminal Pleistocene to Early Holocene Fishing Site in Southern Peru. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology14(1):82-100.

Sandweiss, D.H. 2017, Maritime aspects of early Andean civilizations. In The Sea in History – The Ancient World, ed. by Philip de Souza and Pascal Arnaud, pp. 41-54. Boydell Press, Suffolk UK.

Reitz, E.J., H. McInnis, D.H. Sandweiss, and S.D. deFrance 2017. Variations in Human Adaptations during the Terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene at Quebrada Jaguay (QJ-280) and the Ring Site, Southern Perú. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 12:224-254.

Sandweiss, D.H. 2016, Climate, Catastrophe and Culture in the Ancient Americas: the case of the Pacific Coast. In UNESCO HEADS 5: Human Origin Sites and the World Heritage Convention in the Americas, ed. by N. Sanz. World Heritage Papers 42:178-193.

Sandweiss, D.H. and D.A. Reid 2016, Negotiated Subjugation: Maritime Trade and the Incorporation of Chincha into the Inca Empire. In Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 11:311–325.

Reitz, E.J., H. McInnis, D.H. Sandweiss, and S.D. deFrance 2016, Terminal Pleistocene and early Holocene fishing strategies at Quebrada Jaguay and the Ring Site, southern Perú. Journal of Archaeological Science Reports8:447-453.

Rademaker, K., G. Hodgins, K. Moore, S. Zarrillo, C. Miller, G.R.M. Bromley, P. Leach, D. Reid, W. Yépez Álvarez, and D.H. Sandweiss 2016, 2016 Cuncaicha Rockshelter, a Key Site for Understanding Colonization of the High Andes. Reply to Capriles et al. Current Anthropology57:101-103.

Reitz, E.J., S.D. deFrance, D.H. Sandweiss, and H. McInnis 2015. Flexibility in Southern Peru Coastal Economies: A Vertebrate Perspective on the Terminal Pleistocene/Holocene Transition. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 10:155-183.

Sandweiss, D.H. 2015, Comentario 2: Con lo mínimo: los debates sobre el poblamiento de América del Sur (de Luis Borrero). Intersecciones en Antropología16:19-21.

Rademaker, K., G., Hodgins, K. Moore, S. Zarrillo, C. Miller, G.R.M. Bromley, P. Leach, D.A. Reid, W. Yépez Álvarez, and D.H. Sandweiss 2014, Paleoindian Settlement of the High-Altitude Peruvian Andes. Science346:466-469.

Sandweiss, D.H. 2014, Early Coastal South America. In The Cambridge World Prehistory, ed. by C. Renfrew and P. Bahn, pp. 1058-1074. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.

Sandweiss, D.H. and K.M. Rademaker 2013, El poblamiento del sur peruano: costa y sierra. Boletin de Arqueología PUCP15: 275-293.

Rademaker, K., G.R.M. Bromley, and D.H. Sandweiss 2013, Peru Archaeological Radiocarbon Database, 13,000-7000 14C B.P. Quaternary International301:34-45.

Sandweiss, D.H., A.R. Kelley, D.F. Belknap, J.T. Kelley, K. Rademaker, and D.A. Reid. 2010. GPR Identification of an Early Monument at Los Morteros on the Peruvian Coastal Desert. Quaternary Research73:439–448.

Sandweiss, D.H. 2009, Early Fishing and Inland Monuments: Challenging the Maritime Foundations of Andean Civilization? In Andean Civilization: Papers in Honor of Michael E. Moseley, ed. by J. Marcus, C. Stanish, and R. Williams, pp. 39-54. Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology.

Sandweiss, D.H. and J. Quilter, 2008, Climate, Catastrophe, and Culture in the Ancient Americas. In ElNiño, Catastrophism, and Culture Change in Ancient America, ed. By DH. Sandweiss and J. Quilter, pp. 1-11. Washington DC: Dumbarton Oaks.

Richardson, J.B. III and D.H. Sandweiss 2008, Climate Change, El Niño and the Rise of Complex Society on the Peruvian Coast during the Middle Holocene. In El Niño, Catastrophism, and Culture Change in Ancient America, ed. By DH. Sandweiss and J. Quilter, pp. 59-75. Washington DC: Dumbarton Oaks.

Andrus, C.F.T., D.H. Sandweiss, and E.J. Reitz, 2008, Climate Change and Archaeology: The Holocene History of El Niño on the Coast of Peru. In Case Studies in Environmental Archaeology. Ed by E.J. Reitz, C.M. Scarry, and S.J. Scudder, pp.143-157. Second Edition. London: Springer Science Business Media.

Sandweiss, D.H. and J.B. Richardson III, 2008, Early Andean Environments. In Handbook of South American Archaeology, ed. by Helaine Silverman and William H. Isbell, pp. 93-104. New York: Springer.

Sandweiss, D.H., 2008, Early Fishing Societies in Western South America. In Handbook of South American Archaeology, ed. by Helaine Silverman and William H. Isbell, pp. 145-156. New York: Springer.

Perry, L., D.H. Sandweiss, D. Piperno, K. Rademaker, M.A. Malpass, A. Umire, and P. de la Vera 2006. Early Maize Agriculture and Interzonal Interaction in Southern Peru. Nature440:76-79.

Erickson, D.L., BD. Smith, A.C. Clark, D.H. Sandweiss, and N. Tuross 2005. An Asian Origin for a 10,000-year-old Domesticated Plant in the Americas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences102:18,315-18,320.

Sandweiss, D.H., M.E. Moseley, J. Haas, W. Creamer 2001 Amplifying Importance of New Research in Peru. Science294:1651-1653.

Copson, W. and D.H. Sandweiss 1999. Native and Spanish Perspectives on the 1578 El Niño. In The Entangled Past: Integrating History and Archaeology. Proceedings of the 1997 Chacmool Conference, edited by M. Boyd, J.C. Erwin, and M. Hendrickson, pp. 208-220. Calgary: University of Calgary.

Sandweiss, D.H. 1999. The Return of the Native Symbol: Peru Picks Spondylus to Represent New Integration with Ecuador. Society for American Archaeology Bulletin17(2): 1, 8-9.

Sandweiss, D.H., H. McInnis, R.L. Burger, A. Cano, B. Ojeda, R. Paredes, M.C. Sandweiss, and M.D. Glascock 1998. “Quebrada Jaguay: Early South American Maritime Adaptations.” Science281:1830-1832.

Sandweiss, D.H. and E.S. Wing 1997. Ritual Rodents: The Guinea Pigs of Chincha, Peru. Journal of Field Archaeology24:47-58.

Sandweiss, D.H. 1996. Mid-Holocene Cultural Interaction Between the North Coast of Peru and Ecuador. Latin American Antiquity7:41-50.

Heyerdahl, Sandweiss, D.H., A. Narváez 1995. The Pyramids of Túcume: The Quest for Peru’s Forgotten City. Thames & Hudson, London.

Sandweiss, D.H. 1992. “The Archaeology of Chincha Fishermen: Specialization and Status in Inka Peru.” Carnegie Museum of Natural History Bulletin29.ix + 162 pp.

Sandweiss, D.H., J.B. Richardson III, E.J. Reitz, J.T. Hsu, and R.A. Feldman, 1989, Early maritime adaptations in the Andes: Preliminary studies at the Ring Site, Peru. In:Ecology, Settlement, and History of the Osmore Drainage, Peru,ed. by D.S. Rice, C. Stanish, and P.R. Scarr. Bar International Series 545i, pp. 35-84.


Telephone: 207.581.1889

Email:  daniels@maine.edu

Anthropology Department
5773 South Stevens Hall, room 234A
University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469-5773 USA

Additional Link

Climate Change Institute

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