Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

Alyssa Bolster



Alyssa Bolster isĀ an anthropological bioarchaeologist studying the effects of imperialism on diet, health, nutrition, and foodways in the preHispanic Andes. Namely, she uses human skeletal remains from archaeological sites to macroscopically interrogate health in the past, and also perform analyses using archaeological chemistry (stable isotope analysis) to reconstruct individual and community snapshots of quotidian diet. Alyssa has worked, and hopes to continue to work, at sites representing communities living on the periphery of the Wari Empire, the first major imperial power in the Andes (preceding the Inka). By examining the cultivation, trade, and consumption of socially salient foods (such as maize (corn), maize beer (chicha), and marine and terrestrial protein), she engages with anthropological and interdisciplinary notions of empire and its impact on one of the most intimate acts of our everyday life: eating.