Ph.D. ABD University of Cambridge, 2012
Prehistoric archaeology, mortuary practices, ancient empires, socioeconomic political structures, social and gender identities, trauma and warfare
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Viviana Bellifemine is currently completing her Ph.D. in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge, UK. She received her Bachelors and later her M.A. from San Jose State University. Her thesis “Mortuary Variability in Prehistoric Central California: a Statistical Study of the Yukisma Site, CA-SCL-38” received the Outstanding University Thesis Award in 1998.
Most of her research focuses on the study of mortuary practices in relation to the socio-economic-political context among prehistoric societies. Her interests include: symbolic expressions of mortuary behavior, social organization of hunter-gatherer populations, the archaeology of imperialism, statistical and spatial analysis, causes of interpersonal violence, Native California, Andean pre-Columbian empires. For fifteen years she worked in culture resource management (CRM) in central California where she excavated and conducted research at numerous sites in the northern and Bay Area regions.
She is currently investigating the funerary practices at a number of sites in the Cuzco region to determine differences in the imperial governance interaction between the Inka state and various subject populations. She is also involved in a program with other researchers focusing on the most comprehensive study of trauma patterns among prehistoric societies of central California. Her work was presented at the University College London, the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, Paleopathology Association, Society for American Archaeology, Institute of Andean Studies, American Association of Physical Anthropologists, and the Society for California Archaeology, among others. In addition, she has authored, singly and jointly, a number of book chapters, articles in academic journals, and CRM published and unpublished reports.