Assistant Professor of Archaeology
Dr. Bélisle earned her PhD in Anthropological Archaeology from the University of Michigan in 2011. As for her archaeological interest and experience, Dr. Bélisle has been working in the Andes, specifically in Peru, for over a decade. After visiting Peru for the first time for a field school session, Dr. Bélisle fell in love with all that the place has to offer- she has returned to work there every summer since.
Dr. Bélisle's current work takes place in and around the capital of the Inka Empire, Cusco. Complex societies, or societies with evidence of inherited social inequalities and groups exercising control over others, are a particular area of interest for Dr. Bélisle. Recently she has been doing archaeological survey and excavation in Cusco, specifically at a site called Ak'awillay.
The Wari state, who expanded to this area before the emergence of the Inka Empire, built large installations that led many scholars to conclude that the Wari were a controlling force in the area. Dr. Bélisle's current research seeks to discover what this may have meant for the smaller groups of local inhabitants. Excavations of smaller local villages like that at which Dr. Bélisle conducts her research offer scholars a chance to look at the issue of Wari control and influence from a complementary perspective. Rather than focusing on the large Wari sites to infer the extent of control the Wari had, Dr. Bélisle's team takes a bottom-up approach to evaluate how the inhabitants of Ak'awillay were affected by Wari presence in the region. At this time, data suggest little Wari impact on local communities.
Dr. Bélisle intends to continue research and excavation at Ak'awillay, taking students along to study and discover the incredible city of Cusco with its culturally and archaeologically rich environment and beautiful landscape.