Andean Lab

Image credit: Seated male figure bottle, Wari (600-1000 AD), ceramic, Fowler Museum X86.3790

Andean Lab: Fowler Building, Room A332
Faculty Director: Stella Nair
Lab Coordinators: Alba Menéndez Pereda and Rachel Schloss
Graduate Students: Diana Blanco, Gabriel Silva Collins, Georgi KyorlenskiAlba Menéndez Pereda, Rachel SchlossKevin Torres-Spicer
Affiliated Researcher: Paul Burtenshaw
Undergraduate students: Camille Neira
Alumni: Terrah JonesJacob Bongers, Miranda Claxton, Kevin Hill, Emilie Liu, Hope Noakes, Andrew OntiverosElyse BrusherLouise DeglinLisl Schoepflin, Diana Castro

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Mailing address:
Cotsen Institute of Archaeology
308 Charles E Young Dr N
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Phone (Cotsen Main office): 310-206-8934

Church in Peru
16th-17th century church, Zana Valley, Peru, (destroyed in 1720 by an El Nino cycle). Image Credit: Rachel Schloss
Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC-Berkeley, Catalogue No. 4-5019

Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC-Berkeley, Catalogue No. 4-5019 (Georgi Kyorlenski)

A study of two houses with thatched roofs and painted white exterior walls (Barranquilla, Colombia). A woman stands in the doorway of the house at center, gazing into the dirt road in the foreground. A fence constructed of saplings is at left, adjoining the house. Gift of Louis P. Church, April 1853. Smithsonian: Accession Number 1917-4-5.

“Guaman Poma, La Nueva Cronica”, Image: 377 [379], Title  "DEFVNTO GVAINA CAPAC INGA, ILLAPA [el rayo] / Lo lleuan a enterrallo al Cuzco. / Traen el defunto de Quito a enterralle a su bóbeda rreal. / del Cuzco/CONQVISTA/ illapa /“

The Andean Lab is directed by Stella Nair, Associate Professor of Indigenous Arts of the Americas in the Department of Art History. Nair has worked in the Peruvian and Bolivian Andes for several decades and currently has projects in the Cuzco area. Graduate and undergraduate students working in the Andes also conduct research in the facilities.  Current lab projects include Colombian textiles, Central Coast Textile Dyes, the Archaeology of the Inca Civil War,  Soundscapes of Inca pilgrimage, Andean adobe design and construction, Afro-Indigenous architecture of Ecuador, Ancient Andean Land Art, Andean-Amazonian engagement, and 3D digital reconstructions of historic sites, as well as contemporary cultural heritage and community development.

Andean Working Group

Also housed in the Andean Lab, the Andean Working Group draws scholars from across Southern California to the UCLA campus for meetings focused on current research in Andean archaeology, art history, anthropology, and history. For more information on past lectures and events organized by the working group, see this link. Rachel Schloss and Alba Menéndez Pereda are co-organizing the working group.

Indigenous Material and Visual Culture Working Group

Members of the Andean Lab are active in founding and co-directing the Indigenous Material and Visual Culture Working Group (sponsored by the Center for 17th and 18th Centuries Studies). The MVCA is an interdisciplinary working group aimed at facilitating the study of indigenous cultural productions from across the Americas. For more information on lectures and events organized by the group, visit this link.

Andean Student Alliance

The Andean Student Alliance (ASA) aims to create a space and sense of community on campus for students descended from or with a connection to this region. The ASA hopes to center and celebrate Andean students' diverse cultures, identities, and experiences while creating a resource-sharing network, mutual mentorship, and collective support. For more information about the group and events planned, email


The Andean Lab periodically offers workshops on relevant topics.

Recent workshops

   1. "Digital Sketches: Creating Qualitative, Humanistic Maps & Visualizations in Inkscape," led by Dr. Jeremy Mikecz, Dartmouth College (May 2022)

Banner image credit: X65.8730 Panel with crowned figures bearing staffs. Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of the Wellcome Trust.

This detail from an 1850 atlas shows the distribution of plant life for several mountain ranges, inspired by Humboldt’s illustration of Chimborazo. (David Rumsey Map Collection, David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries)

María Natividad de Balbanera church in Colta, Ecuador. Image credit: Kevin Torres-Spicer

Image credit: Paul Burtenshaw / Sustainable Preservation Initiative

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