card
235

Craig Morris

OLogy Series
ologist
card
235

Craig Morris

OLogy Series
ologist

Craig Morris knows there's no such thing as too many artifacts. As an archaeologist, he spent over 10 years excavating and analyzing over a million artifacts at Huánuco Pampa (wa-nu-koh pam-pa), an Inca capital in Peru. Craig's team excavated all over the city, giving us a fuller picture of Inca city life. Though his main focus is on the ancient cultures of the Andes, he has also done fieldwork in Utah, Spain, and Bolivia.

Exploring an Ancient City
In the 1500s, the Spanish conquest dramatically changed the way many Incas lived. Many cities, like Huánuco Pampa, were eventually abandoned because they were located high in the mountains. The city remained well-preserved for centuries. The state held huge festivals and gave away food and woven cloth. To help paint a picture of daily life at Huanuco Pampa, Craig Morris collected over a million artifacts. It was a big challenge to describe and study all of them. Digging them up was a challenge. Craig used over 500 trowels (little pointed shovels) while excavating the site, wearing each one down to a tiny nub! It may have been hard work to collect those artifacts, but they have helped shape our current understanding of Inca culture.

When Craig returned from an excavation in Peru, he developed a minor case of:

typhoid fever

chicken pox

the blues

Are you right?

Correct!

When scientists travel to foreign countries to do their fieldwork, they are sometimes exposed to germs that their bodies aren't normally exposed to. Craig developed a minor case of typhoid fever after working in Peru, but antibiotics helped him recover quickly.

Craig uses aerial photography in his work to get a “big picture” of the Inca territory. Some are taken from airplanes. Others are taken by:

infrared cameras

the space shuttle

wedding photographers

Are you right?

Correct!

Craig uses aerial photographs taken from planes, satellites, and even from the space shuttle. These images help him examine large sections of the Inca territory and study the empire as a whole. They've also helped him study how the territory expanded.

On one expedition, we collected so many pottery shards we filled all of our tents with artifacts. There wasn't much room to sleep, so we crammed together and slept side by side like sardines.

Craig usually throws away the little pieces of pottery he can't piece together.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Archaeologists can learn a lot from a piece of pottery. Just by looking at the rim of a pot, they can tell what the pot was shaped like and how it was used.

Hometown: Kentucky
Education: Ph.D., University of Chicago
Job: Curator of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History
Known for: his study of the Inca empire, especially the city of Huanuco Pampa
Most common artifact from the Huanuco Pampa excavation site: pottery, mostly used for food storage

Image credits: courtesy of AMNH; Craig Morris: AMNH.