Professor of Archaeology and Ancient Technology
Director, Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology (CMRAE)
BA Physics, Vassar College, 1956
MA Fine Arts and Archaeology, New York University, 1966
Diploma Archaeological Conservation, New York University, 1966


(617) 253-2172


617) (253-8090


  • Material Culture


Heather Lechtman carries out her fieldwork in the Andean zone of South America where she has spent 43 years investigating the prehistoric systems of technology Andean peoples developed to manage a highly varied and high stress environment. Her area of specialty is prehistoric Andean metallurgy. Professor Lechtman’s research has demonstrated that the Andean zone of South America was the locus of what became, over time, a pan-Andean set of metallurgical technologies that developed first in the Andes and later was transmitted to societies farther north. The Andean culture area was one of the primary zones for the development of sophisticated metallurgical practice in the ancient world. Professor Lechtman’s current research involves investigation of the range of unusual bronze alloys Andean peoples designed long before the establishment of the Inka state.

Robert H. Richards, the first department head, appears in The Technologists, a 2012 novel by Matthew Pearl.