Bruce Owen

Title: Lecturer
Concentration: Archaeology, Andean prehistory, complex societies
Education: Ph.D., UCLA 1993
Office: Stevenson 2054H


Bruce Owen was infected by Andean archaeology as an undergraduate at Yale University, joined a UCLA excavation project in the Upper Mantaro Valley of central Peru to get it out of his system, and has never recovered. A determined jack of all trades, he has directed regional site surveys and excavation projects in residential and cemetery sites, studied pre-Columbian metalworking and metal artifacts from Machu Picchu and the rest of the Inka empire, analyzed ceramic assemblages and gravelots, and documented subtleties of radiocarbon dating on the Peruvian coast. His principal interests are in the expansion, collapse, and aftermath of complex societies of the Andes, especially Tiwanaku, Wari, and the Inka in the far south of Peru, but he has digressed into documenting both very early agriculture and contact-era farming villages on the far south coast, and even further to performing extensive statistical analyses of nineteenth-century remains from San Francisco and Oakland. He has designed and built several kite aerial photography rigs with which he has made detailed photomaps of Peruvian sites. Dr. Owen was the founding Director of the Museo Contisuyo, an archaeological museum and research facility in Moquegua, Peru, and is currently the Secretary and Treasurer of the Institute of Andean Studies. He has been teaching at Sonoma State since 1996.


  • ANTH 201: Introduction to Biological Anthropology
  • ANTH 203: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 202: Introduction to Archaeology
  • ANTH 324: Archaeological Methods
  • ANTH 325: World Prehistory
  • ANTH 326: Topics in Archaeology: Andean Archaeology and Ethnohistory
  • ANTH 340: Living in our Globalized World
  • ANTH 341: Emergence of Civilizations
  • HIST 201: Foundations of World Civilization

Selected Scholarship:

The Metals from Machu Picchu in the Context of Inka and Regional Metalworking Traditions. In 1912 Yale Peruvian Scientific Expedition Collections from Machu Picchu: Metal Artifacts, edited by R. L. Burger and L.C. Burger. Yale University Publications in Anthropology.
       Metallurgical Activity: Description, Technical Analysis, and Reconstruction. In Chotuna and Chornancap: Excavating an Ancient Peruvian Legend, edited by C. Donnan. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA.
      Wari in the Majes-Camaná valley: A different kind of horizon. In Beyond Wari Walls, Regional Perspectives on Middle Horizon Peru, edited by J. Jennings. University of New Mexico Press.
      An Historical Archaeological Test of a Single Scale of Material Status. 109th Annual Meeting of American Anthropological Association, New Orleans.
      La Expansión y el Colapso de Tiwanaku y el Papel de Arequipa (The Expansion and Collapse of Tiwanaku and the Role of Arequipa). In Arqueología del Area Centro Sur Andina, edited by M. Ziolkowski, J. Jennings, L. A. Belan Franco, and A. Drusini. Andes, Boletín del Centro de Estudios Precolombinos de la Universidad de Varsovia 7:431-462.
      Social Status in San Francisco and Oakland: Status Indices and Social Reality; Conclusions about Quantitative Methods; Consumption and Status in Nineteenth-century San Francisco and Oakland: Statistical Analyses for the San Francisco West Approach Project. In South of Market: Historical Archaeology of 3 San Francisco Neighborhoods. The San Francisco-Bay Bridge West Approach Project. Anthropological Studies Center, Sonoma State University, edited by M. Praetzellis and A. Praetzellis
      Early Agriculture in the Coastal Osmore Valley, Peru: Synchronous Events and Macroregional Processes in the Formation of Andean Civilization. In Andean Civilization: A Tribute to Michael E. Moseley, edited by J. Marcus and P. R. Williams. Monograph 63, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles.
      Fotografía Aérea por Cometa para Arqueología (Kite Aerial Photography for Archaeology). Congreso Contisuyo, Moquegua, Peru.
      Comment on Axel Nielsen, Significant arms: cultural plots, war and social change in the pre-hispanic Southern Andes. Boletín del Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino 12(1):33-34.
      The Wari Heartland on the Arequipa Coast: Huamanga Ceramics from Beringa, Majes Valley, Peru. Andean Past 8:287-373.
      The Columned Court Complexes of Camaná Were Not What They Appeared. 72nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Austin.
      Violence and Rural Lifeways at Two Peripheral Wari Sites in the Majes Valley of Southern Peru. In Andean Archaeology III: North and South, edited by W. Isbell and H. Silverman. Kluwer/Plenum, New York. (T. Tung and B. Owen)
      Distant Colonies and Explosive Collapse: The Two Stages of the Tiwanaku Diaspora in the Osmore Drainage. Latin American Antiquity 16(1):45-80.
      Marine Carbon Reservoir Age Estimates for the Far South Coast of Peru. Radiocarbon 44(3):701-708.
      Tiwanaku en Moquegua: Interacciones Regionales y Colapso. Boletín de Arqueología PUCP 5:169-188, Pontifica Universidad Católica del Perú, Lima. (B. Owen and P. Goldstein)
      The Economy of Metal and Shell Wealth Goods. In Empire and Domestic Economy, edited by T. D'Altroy and C. Hastorf. Plenum, New York.
      From Sequence to Social Organization: Tiwanaku Multicomponent Society in Moquegua, Perú. 66th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, New Orleans.
    The Museo Contisuyo: A Successful Partnership across Multiple Boundaries. Society for American Archaeology Bulletin 18(4):27-30.

Current Research:

Proposing a fiber identification study of prehistoric slings in collections in the US and Peru to assess whether a recently documented ethnographic belief about slings used for ritual combat is a continuation of an ancient tradition, with implications for better identifying warfare in the Andean archaeological record.