The Archaeology Centre

Dr. Edward R. Swenson

Director, Archaeology Centre

Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology

University of Toronto, St.George Campus

Acting Director of Archaeology Centre

(Jan-July 2016)


PhD Anthropology, University of Chicago, Chicago IL, 2004

MA Anthropology, University of Chicago, Chicago IL, 1998

BA History and Archaeology, Cornell University, Ithaca NY, 1995



(416) 946-5186


Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto

19 Russell Street, Toronto, ON, M5S 2S2, Canada

Office: AP 504


Current Research


Dr. Swenson has been engaged in archaeological field research in the Jequetepeque Valley of northern Peru since 1997, and he is currently directing excavations of the large urban complex of CaƱoncillo (Proyecto Jatanca-Huaca Colorada) located on the south side of the valley.  A central objective of the research is to interpret how long-term processes of urbanization (400 BC-AD 800) were constituted by the everyday practices, identity politics, and religious values of Late Formative and Moche communities.  Field investigations are designed to gauge how transformations in the construction of public architecture differently correlated with changes in ritual activity, economic production, consumption habits, and the configuration and experience of domestic space.  Analysis of the historical interrelationships of different regimes of practice, as ultimately mediated by the built environment, will permit interpretation of the cultural particulars of urban power relations in the Jequetepeque region.  Therefore, our research intends to make contributions to understanding the pre-industrial city, violence and subject formation, the archaeology of ritual and monumental architecture, and the politics of landscape and social memory. The Jatanca-Huaca Colorada Project has involved the participation of a number of undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Toronto, and other institutions in Canada, Peru, and the United States.


Teaching and Research Interests


Archaeological method and theory; Andean prehistory; Moche civilization; archaeology of ritual and performance; religion and ideology; power and violence; rise of complex society; pre-industrial city; urbanism; landscape history; architecture and monumentalism; human-environment relations; politics of the past; ancient Mesoamerica; Khmer civilization; cultural anthropology; social memory; subject formation; GIS and spatial analysis; ceramic analysis


Current Courses


Current Students

Archaeological Spatial and Architectural Laboratory