Chuck Spencer

Growing up in Panama, Chuck was interested in old ruins, Spanish forts, and archaeological sites. In college, he worked on a dig in Oaxaca, Mexico, and was inspired to study ancient American cultures. Archaeology has taken Chuck from the grasslands of Venezuela to the mountain valleys of Oaxaca. His research has focused on small village societies and the capitals of the first civilizations to form in Mesoamerica.

Hometown: Balboa, Panama
Education: Ph.D., University of Michigan
Job: Chair of the Anthropology Division at the American Museum of Natural History
Known for: his studies of the ancient cultures of the Americas, especially the Zapotec of Oaxaca, Mexico
Most interesting artifact found: an ancient skull rack that held the heads of people who resisted an enemy invasion

Image credits: courtesy of AMNH; Chuck Spencer: courtesy of AMNH.