About Kathryn Sampeck
A native Texan, Kathryn earned her Bachelor’s at the University of Chicago and was inducted into the Maroon Key Society for her outstanding scholarly achievement and contributions to univeristy life. Her Master’s thesis at the University of Chicago examined urban structure and political process in the ancient urban center of Tiwanaku, Bolivia. As a doctoral student at Tulane University, Kathryn excavated the palatial residence of Yax Pasaj Chan Yopaat, the last king of the Maya city of Copán, Honduras and conducted intensive survey and excavations in western El Salvador to understand Late Postclassic political economies and their relationship to the development of the Spanish colonial world. Kathryn’s archaeological research was funded by a Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Research Fellowship, a CIES Senior Scholar Fulbright Fellowship, and grants from the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the Social Science Research Council. Her archival research has been supported by fellowships with the John Carter Brown Library and the John D. Rockefeller Library at Colonial Williamsburg. She was awarded the 2012 CAS Excellence Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement of the Year for her research. Her publications appear in Ancient Mesoamerica, SAA Archaeological Record, La Universidad, Mesoamerica, and International Journal of Historical Archaeology.
Kathryn’s research centers on three interdependent topics: political economy, colonialism, and identity. She approaches these topics through the study of material culture, landscape archaeology, and ethnohistory. One current research project is to understand the cultural history of chocolate by connecting the lives and conditions of producers with changes in the social, political, and economic milieu of consumers throughout the Atlantic World. Her study of Mesoamerican and colonial literacy resulted in a 2012 workshop funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and hosted by the John Carter Brown Library of Brown University. Since 2008, Kathryn has collaborated with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians on a multifaceted endeavor that combines survey, mapping, excavation, artifact analysis, and public outreach to understand Spanish contact-period Native American political, social, and economic landscapes in eastern Tennessee.