Latin American Studies

José M. Capriles

José M. Capriles
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
314 Carpenter Building, Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802


Ph.D. in Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis, 2011
M.A. in Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis, 2006
Licenciate in Archaeology, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, 2004


Research Activities and Interests

Dr. Capriles is an anthropological archaeologist specializing in environmental archaeology, human ecology and zooarchaeology. Before joining Penn State University, he was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh (2012-2013), a Chilean FONDECYT Postdoctoral Researcher (2013-2015) and an Assistant Professor at Universidad de Tarapacá (2015-2016). His research interests focus on three sets of questions: (1) how did humans adapt to the changing environmental conditions of the South American Andes and Amazonia during the late Pleistocene-early Holocene transition? (2) which specific economic and ecological processes were involved in the development of early camelid pastoralism and other food production economies? and (3) how were the economic and technological organization of subsistence-scale communities impacted by the emergence and expansion of complex polities such as the Tiwanaku and Inca states? To address these problems, he conducts research in Bolivia and Chile and collaborates broadly with international interdisciplinary research teams. He is also engaged in the preservation of cultural heritage through public outreach and the active participation of indigenous and local communities in archaeological research.

Courses Taught

  • ANTH 426 Andean Archaeology and Ethnology
  • ANTH 428 Archaeological Method and Theory
  • ANTH 432 Environmental Archaeology
  • ANTH 508 Visualizing Anthropological Data
  • ANTH 588 Seminar in Archaeological Method and Theory

Select Recent Publications

Capriles, José M., Juan Albarracin-Jordan, Douglas W. Bird, Steven T. Goldstein, Gabriela M. Jarpa, Sergio Calla Maldonado, and Calogero M. Santoro (2018) Mobility, subsistence, and technological strategies of early Holocene hunter-gatherers in the Bolivian Altiplano. Quaternary International 473:190-205.

Santoro, Calogero M., José M. Capriles, Eugenia M. Gayo, María Eugenia de Porras, Antonio Maldonado, Vivien G. Standen, Claudio Latorre, Victoria Castro, Dante Angelo, Virginia McRostie, Mauricio Uribe, Daniela Valenzuela, Paula Ugalde, and Pablo A. Marquet (2017) Continuities and discontinuities in the socio-environmental systems of the Atacama Desert during the last 13,000 years. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 46:28-39.

Osorio, Daniela, José M. Capriles, Paula C. Ugalde, Katherine A. Herrera, Marcela Sepúlveda, Eugenia M. Gayo, Claudio Latorre, Donald Jackson, Ricardo De Pol-Holz, and Calogero M. Santoro (2017) Hunter-gatherer mobility strategies in the high Andes of northern Chile during the late Pleistocene–early Holocene Transition (ca. 11,500-9,500 cal B.P.). Journal of Field Archaeology 42(3):228-240.

Capriles, J.M. and N. Tripcevich (Eds.) (2016) The Archaeology of Andean Pastoralism. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

Capriles, J.M., J. Albarracin-Jordan, U. Lombardo, D. Osorio, B. Maley, S.T. Goldstein, K.A. Herrera, M.D. Glascock, A.I. Domic, H. Veit, and C.M. Santoro (2016) High-altitude adaptation and late Pleistocene foraging in the Bolivian Andes. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 6:463-474.

Capriles, J.M., C.M. Santoro, and T.D. Dillehay (2016) Harsh Environments and the Terminal Pleistocene Peopling of the Andean Highlands. Current Anthropology 57(1):99-100.

Valenzuela, D., C.M. Santoro, J.M. Capriles, M.J. Quinteros, R. Peredo, E.M. Gayo, I. Montt, and M. Sepulveda (2015) Consumption of animals beyond diet in the Atacama Desert, northern Chile (13,000-410 BP): comparing rock art motifs and archaeofaunal records. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 40:250-265.

Marshall, F.B., Keith D., T. Denham, and J.M. Capriles (2014) Evaluating the roles of directed breeding and gene flow in animal domestication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(17):6153-6158.

Capriles, J.M., K.M. Moore, A.I. Domic, and C.A. Hastorf (2014) Fishing and environmental change during the emergence of social complexity in the Lake Titicaca Basin. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 34:66-77.

Capriles, J.M. (2014) Mobile communities and pastoralist landscapes during the Formative Period in the central Altiplano of Bolivia. Latin American Antiquity 25(1):3-26.

José M. Capriles