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Faculty Profile

Maria Bruno

(she/her/hers)Associate Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology (2011)

Contact Information

Leave of absence 2022-23

Environmental Archaeology Lab Room 3


I study the diversity of practices that smallholder, farming societies, past and present, employ to create productive landscapes, and how these practices shaped and were shaped by interrelated environmental, social, and political processes. I investigate these landscapes through patterns in plants: those that have been domesticated and modified by farmers and the wild plant communities that change in response to human activity. I have worked primarily in the Lake Titicaca Basin of the South American Andes as well as the Llanos de Moxos region of the Amazon Basin. Specific topics of investigation include: the domestication of the Andean “superfood” quinoa and its close relative kañawa; processes of agricultural intensification employed by Formative period (1500 BCE-500CE) farmers on the Taraco Peninsula, Bolivia; and how modern-day indigenous Aymara farming communities interact with their landscape in both productive and meaningful ways.


  • B.A., University of Nevada, 1998
  • M.A., Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, 2001
  • Ph.D., 2008