Erica received her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in 1999. She has archaeological excavation experience in Alaska, Florida, the Southwest, Mexico, Peru, and the Russian Far East and has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Honduras.
Erica is a broadly trained archaeologist with a background in medieval studies. She is interested in all aspects of ancient art and religion, especially the cross-cultural study of funerary ritual and sacrifice. Her most recent work involves reconstructing the religion of the Moche of Peru, a pre-Inca culture of the Pacific coast of South America.
She recently explored how the Moche conceptualized human body parts and the ways in which bones, particularly the skull, serve as objects of danger and desire in a chapter in “Skull Collection, Modification and Decoration,” edited by Michelle Bonogofsky. Erica has also published a book chapter and articles on the Moche in the journals Antiquity, Journal of Material Culture, and Cambridge Archaeological Journal and has a book chapter forthcoming in Religion, Archaeology, and the Material World, edited by Lars Fogelin.
Erica is also a zooarchaeologist and has worked with faunal assemblages from across the United States and from Chukotka, in the Russian Far East. She is interested in the exploitation of terrestrial and marine mammals in the North Pacific and in reconstructing the ritual uses of archaeological faunas. She is especially interested in the cross-cultural practice of animal burial and explored how the prehistoric Anasazi, Mimbres, Mogollon, and inhabitants of Casas Grandes treated animals in a 2000 article in the journal Kiva.
Erica teaches a variety of courses at UAS, including Biological Anthropology, Zooarchaeology, and Ethnobiology, plus surveys of archaeology, including Ancient Civilizations.
When she isn’t teaching or writing, Erica loves to travel. She is also an avid birdwatcher and can be found tramping through the forests on the weekends looking for warblers. She reads historical fiction and the New York Times Book Review with equal enthusiasm.