Nawa Sugiyama

Nawa Sugiyama

Nawa Sugiyama

Assistant Professor

Anthropology: Zooarchaeology, Isotope bone chemistry, Mesoamerica, Teotihuacan

Nawa Sugiyama joined the Sociology and Anthropology Department as Assistant Professor at George Mason University in Spring, 2016. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology at Harvard University in 2014, where she continued on to become a Peter Buck Post-doctoral Fellow at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution.

For her dissertation, professor Sugiyama documented the earliest evidence of carnivore management in Mesoamerica at the site of Teotihuacan where pumas, jaguars, wolves, golden eagles and rattlesnakes were sacrificed. Post-doctoral work on the felids associated with Altar Q in Copan, Honduras also demonstrated a wider practice of managing wild carnivores for ritualistic purposes. In both cases she combines zooarchaeological and isotopic data to reconstruct how past human-animal encounters were integral components of the cosmological and socio-political landscape. Currently, she is co-director of the Project Plaza of the Columnas Complex at Teotihuacan, Mexico where they are excavating a principal palatial structure in the ceremonial core. She founded the Archaeological Sciences Laboratory at George Mason University to continue her interest in utilizing zooarchaeological and isotopic analysis to reconstruct ancient animal and human diets, migration patterns and environments.

Professor Sugiyama has conducted her fieldwork, lab work and writing with the support from various institutions including the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Harvard University, and the Fulbright Foundation.


Selected Publications

Sugiyama, Nawa, Andrew D. Somerville (2017) FEEDING TEOTIHUACAN: Integrating Approaches to Studying Food and Foodways of the Ancient Metropolis. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 9(1):1-10, special issue Feeding Teotihuacan, edited by Nawa Sugiyama and Andrew D. Somerville. 

Sugiyama, Nawa, Andrew D. Somerville, and Margaret J. Schoeninger (2015) Stable Isotopes and Zooarchaeology at Teotihuacan, Mexico Reveal Earliest Evidence of Wild Carnivore Management in Mesoamerica. PlosOne 10(9): e0135635.

Sugiyama, Nawa, Gilberto Pérez, Bernardo Rodríguez, Fabiola Torres, and Raúl Valadez (2014) Animals and the State: The Role of Animals in State-Level Rituals in Mesoamerica. In Animals and Inequality in the Ancient World, edited by Sue Ann McCarty and Benjamin Arbuckle, pp.11-31. University Press of Colorado, Boulder.

Sugiyama, Nawa, Saburo Sugiyama, and Alejandro Sarabia (2013) Inside the Sun Pyramid at Teotihuacan, Mexico: 2008-2011 Excavations and Preliminary Results. Latin American Antiquity 24(4):403-432.

Sugiyama, Nawa, Raúl Valadez, Gilberto Pérez, Bernardo Rodríguez, and Fabiola Torres (2013) Animal Management, Preparation and Sacrifice: Reconstructing Burial 6 at the Moon Pyramid, Teotihuacan, México. Anthropozoologica, special issue, Animals in Funerary Space, edited by Rose-Marie Arbogast and Sébastien Lepetz, 48(2):467-485.

Sugiyama, Nawa (2013)  Animals that Reside in the Sacred Mountain and Empowered Monuments at Teotihuacan. In Constructing, Deconstructing, and Reconstructing Social Identity –2,000 Years of Monumentality in Teotihuacan and Cholula, Mexico-, edited by Saburo Sugiyama, Shigeru Kabata, Tomoko Taniguichi, and Etsuko Niwa, pp.41-49. Cultural Symbiosis Research Institute, Aichi Prefectural University, Aichi, Japan.