Archaeologist Elsa Redmond Elected to National Academy of Sciences

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Research posts

Elsa M. Redmond, a research associate in the Museum’s Division of Anthropology, was recently elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Redmond, an anthropological archaeologist whose expertise lies in Latin America, is one of 84 scientists recognized in 2014 for “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

Elsa Redmond
Dr. Elsa Redmond at an excavation site in the Oaxaca Valley, Mexico

Since 1972, Redmond has conducted extensive field research in western Venezuela and Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley; she is interested in the evolution of early complex societies. Redmond has contributed insights into the role that warfare, particularly inter-village raiding, played in the emergence of centralized, hierarchical societies (chiefdoms) ruled by hereditary chiefs in South America, and she has also investigated the role of expansionistic conquest warfare in the formation of the early Zapotec state in southern Mexico. Redmond’s models of chiefdom and state emergence use both ethnohistoric data on warfare practices and archaeological data.

Along with Charles Spencer, a curator in the Division of Anthropology, she is currently carrying out a field project in the Oaxaca Valley designed to investigate the process of Zapotec state formation.

Redmond joined the Museum’s scientific staff in 1991. She received her B.A. in anthropology from Rice University in 1973, her M.Ph. in 1976 and Ph.D. in 1981, both in anthropology, from Yale University. Redmond has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in anthropology at the University of Connecticut, Yale University, CUNY’s Hunter College, and Columbia University.

Learn more about Redmond's recent work in the Oaxaca Valley.