Heather Nan Lechtman

Professor Emerita of Archaeology and Ancient Technology

Primary Impact, Materials, Research Type

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Professor Heather Lechtman carries out her fieldwork in the Andean zone of South America, where she 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 research involves investigation of the range of unusual bronze alloys Andean peoples designed long before the establishment of the Inca state. She served as director of the Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology (CMRAE) since its establishment in 1977 and was most recently awarded the Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology in 2020.