March 26, 2008

Expert to discuss Peru's ancient civilizations

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A renowned anthropologist at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will share more than three decades of experiences uncovering the ancient civilizations of Peru during a lecture set for early April.

Izumi Shimada, professor of anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts at SIUC, will give a lecture about his work in Peru as the 2007 Outstanding Scholar at SIUC. The lecture, titled "Alloying Archaeology and Science: Thirty Years of Evolution of an Archaeology Project in Peru," is set for 4 p.m. Thursday, April 3, in room 1059 in the Life Science III building. A reception will follow the lecture at 5 p.m.

Shimada received the Outstanding Scholar award last year through the University's Excellence Through Commitment Awards Program, established in 2004. Izumi's ongoing fieldwork delayed the lecture, which normally occurs each fall.

Known as a leading scholar of Central Andean civilization, Shimada spent most of his career in Peru studying the area's history. The ancient people who lived there, known as the Moche and Sicán, are known for their pyramidal tombs and fine ceramics and metal works. They lived along Peru's northern coast, the Moche from 50 to 800 A.D. and the Sicán from about 700 to 1370 A.D.

A prolific writer and speaker who has published about 60 peer-reviewed articles, dozens of book chapters and 10 books, Shimada conducts numerous public lectures, media interviews and museum displays around the world. Peru twice honored Shimada for his service and efforts in preserving its heritage. He has appeared on the Discovery Channel.

Shimada earned doctorate in 1976 at the University of Arizona. He earned his bachelor's degree in 1971 at Cornell University. He joined the SIUC faculty as an assistant professor in 1994, becoming a full professor in 2002.