Distinguished Professor of Anthropology
PhD, University of Illinois, 1973
Science 1, Room 109A
William Isbell explores the prehistoric development of complex societies in Peru and Bolivia, examining place, built environment, palaces, gender and power relations between political centers and peripheries as city life emerged. Phenomenological understandings of new urban spaces help the archaeologist to infer and construct new urban people and their identities. He is conducting an iconographic study examining how religion and ideology participated in the development of the first Central Andean empires, Tiwanaku and Wari, especially the negotiation of more shamanic approaches to the supernatural, as they competed with more priestly/worship approaches, in new cities and ceremonial centers. He has completed five seasons of excavations at the small highland city of Conchopata, and his final report on this research will include innovative and open Internet access to virtually all of the data, setting a new standard for archaeological reporting. This, in turn, is also a preparation for a multi-year project investigating the vast Middle Horizon city of Huari in Ayacucho, Peru. He has published recently on prehistoric Andean social organization as indicated by Andean mortuary practices, on gender pattern change in early Andean cities, on palaces and systems of power in early Andean Empires, and on both Wari and Tiwanaku. He is perhaps the world's foremost authority on the Andean Middle Horizon, and is co-editor of Andean Archaeology I: Variations in Sociopolitical Organization; Andean Archaeology II: Art Landscape and Society; Andean Archaeology III: North and South, as well as the Handbook of South American Archaeology.
2008 Handbook of South American Archaeology. Ed. by Helaine Silverman and William H. Isbell. Springer Science & Business Media LLC., New York.
2008 Conclusions. In Handbook of South American Archaeology, Ed. by Helaine Silverman and William H. Isbell. Pp. 1137-1158. Springer Science & Business Media LLC., New York.
2008 Wari and Tiwanaku: International Identities in the Central Andean Middle Horizon. In Handbook of South American Archaeology, Ed. by Helaine Silverman and William H. Isbell. Pp. 731-760. Springer Science & Business Media LLC., New York.
2007 A Community of Potters, or Multicrafting Wives of Polygynous Lords? In Craft
Production in Complex Societies, Ed by Izumi Shimada. Pp. 68-96.
University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City
2006 Andean Archaeology: Vol. III, North and South. Ed. by William H. Isbell and Helaine Silverman. Springer Science & Business Media LLC., New York.
2006 Human and animal diet at Conchopata, Peru: stable isotope evidence for maize agriculture and animal management practices during the Middle Horizon. Journal of Archaeological Science, 33 (2006) 1766-1776. (Third author, with Brian Finucane and Patricia Mayta Agurto.)
2006 Landscape of Power: A Network of Palaces in Middle Horizon Peru. In Palaces and Power in the Americas: From Peru to the Northwest Coast, Ed. by Jessica Joyce Christie and Patricia Sarro. Pp. 44- 98. University of Texas Press.
2004 Palaces and Politics of Huari, Tiwanaku and the Middle Horizon. In Palaces of the Ancient New World, Ed. by Susan Toby Evans and Joanne Pillsbury. Pp. 191- 246. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington D.C.
2004 Mortuary Preferences: A Wari Culture Case Study from Middle Horizon Peru. Latin American Antiquity 15(1) 3-32.
2002 Andean Archaeology: Vol II, Art, Landscape and Society. Ed. by Helaine Silverman and William H. Isbell. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishing Co., New York.
2002 Andean Archaeology: Vol I, Variations in Sociopolitical Organization. Ed. by William H. Isbell and Helaine Silverman. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishing Co., New York
2002 Huari Y Tiwanaku: Modelos vs. Evidencias, Segunda Parte. Boletín de Arqueología PUCP, No. 5, 2001. Ed. by Peter Kaulicke and William H. Isbell. Departamento de Humanidades, Especialidad de Arqueologia, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Lima.
2001 Huari Y Tiwanaku: Modelos vs. Evidencias, Primera Parte. Boletín de Arqueología PUCP, No. 4, 2000. Ed. by Peter Kaulicke and William H. Isbell. Departamento de Humanidades, Especialidad de Arqueologia, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Lima.
1997 Mummies and Mortuary Monuments: A Postprocessual Prehistory of Andean Social Organization. University of Texas Press.