José M. Capriles

José M. Capriles

Associate Professor of Anthropology
314 Carpenter Building University Park, PA 16802
(814) 865-7835
José M. Capriles

Curriculum Vitae


Licenciate, Archaeology, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, 2004
M.A., Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis, 2006
Ph.D., Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis, 2011

Professional Bio

Professional Bio

Research Activities and Interests

Dr. Capriles is an anthropological archaeologist specializing in environmental archaeology, human ecology and zooarchaeology. Before joining Penn State University, he was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh (2012-2013), a Chilean FONDECYT Postdoctoral Researcher (2013-2015) and an Assistant Professor at Universidad de Tarapacá (2015-2016). His research is focused on three sets of questions: (1) how did humans adapt to the changing environmental conditions of the South American Andes and Amazonia during the late Pleistocene-early Holocene transition? (2) which specific economic and ecological processes were involved in the development of early camelid pastoralism and other food production economies? and (3) how were the economic and technological organization of subsistence-scale communities impacted by the emergence and expansion of complex polities such as the Tiwanaku and Inca states? To address these problems, he conducts research in Bolivia and Chile and collaborates broadly with international interdisciplinary research teams. He is also engaged in the preservation of cultural heritage through public outreach and the active participation of indigenous and local communities in archaeological research.

Courses Taught

  • ANTH 424 Andean Archaeology and Ethnology
  • ANTH 428 Archaeological Method and Theory
  • ANTH 432 Environmental Archaeology
  • ANTH 508 Visualizing Anthropological Data
  • ANTH 588 Seminar in Archaeological Method and Theory

Select Recent Publications

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Capriles, J.M., C.M. Santoro, R.J. George, E. Flores Bedregal, D.J. Kennett, L. Kistler, and F. Rothhammer (2021) Pre-Columbian transregional captive rearing of Amazonian parrots in the Atacama Desert. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 118(15):e2020020118.

Bruno, M.C., J.M. Capriles, C.A. Hastorf, S.C. Fritz, D.M. Weide, A.I. Domic, and P.A. Baker (2021) The rise and fall of Wiñaymarka: Rethinking cultural and environmental interactions in the southern basin of Lake Titicaca. Human Ecology 49(2):131-145.

Labarca, R., F.J. Caro, N.A. Villavicencio, J.M. Capriles, E. Briones, C. Latorre, and C.M. Santoro (2021) A partially complete skeleton of Hippidion saldiasi Roth, 1899 (Mammalia: Perissodactyla) from the Late Pleistocene of the high Andes in northern Chile. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology e1862132:1-18.

Delaere, C. and J.M. Capriles (2020) The context and meaning of an intact Inca underwater offering from Lake Titicaca. Antiquity 94(376):1030-1041.

Workman, T.R., J.A. Rech, E.M. Gayó, C.M. Santoro, P.C. Ugalde, R. De Pol-Holz, J.M. Capriles, and C. Latorre (2020) Landscape evolution and the environmental context of human occupation of the southern Pampa del Tamarugal, Atacama Desert, Chile. Quaternary Science Reviews 243:106502.

Lombardo, U., J. Iriarte, L. Hilbert, J. Ruiz-Pérez, J.M. Capriles, and H. Veit (2020) Early Holocene crop cultivation and landscape modification in Amazonia. Nature 581(7807):190-193.

Capriles, J.M., U. Lombardo, B. Maley, C. Zuna, H. Veit, and D.J. Kennett (2019) Persistent Early to Middle Holocene tropical foraging in southwestern Amazonia. Science Advances 5(4):eaav5449.

Miller, M.J., J. Albarracin-Jordan, C. Moore, and J.M. Capriles (2019) Chemical evidence for the use of multiple psychotropic plants in a 1,000-year-old ritual bundle from South America. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 116(23):11207-11212.

Delaere, C., J.M. Capriles, and C. Stanish (2019) Underwater ritual offerings in the Island of the Sun and the formation of the Tiwanaku state. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 116(17):8233-8238.

Capriles, J.M., N. Tripcevich, A.E. Nielsen, M.D. Glascock, J. Albarracin-Jordan, and C.M. Santoro (2018) Late Pleistocene lithic procurement and geochemical characterization of the Cerro Kaskio obsidian source in southwestern Bolivia. Archaeometry 60(5):898-914.

González-Guarda, E., A. Petermann-Pichincura, C. Tornero, L. Domingo, J. Agustí, M. Pino, A.M. Abarzúa, J.M. Capriles, N.A. Villavicencio, R. Labarca, V. Tolorza, P. Sevilla, and F. Rivals (2018) Multiproxy evidence for leaf-browsing and closed habitats in extinct proboscideans (Mammalia, Proboscidea) from Central Chile. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115(37):9258-9263.

Capriles, J.M., J. Albarracin-Jordan, D.W. Bird, S.T. Goldstein, G.M. Jarpa, S. Calla Maldonado, and C.M. Santoro (2018) Mobility, subsistence, and technological strategies of early Holocene hunter-gatherers in the Bolivian Altiplano. Quaternary International 473:190-205.

Marsh, E.J., M.C. Bruno, S.C. Fritz, P. Baker, J.M. Capriles, and C.A. Hastorf (2018) IntCal, SHCal, or a Mixed Curve? Choosing a 14C calibration curve for archaeological and paleoenvironmental records from tropical South America. Radiocarbon 60(3):925-940.

Santoro, C.M., J.M. Capriles, E.M. Gayo, M.E. de Porras, A. Maldonado, V.G. Standen, C. Latorre, V. Castro, D. Angelo, V. McRostie, M. Uribe, D. Valenzuela, P. Ugalde, and P.A. Marquet (2017) Continuities and discontinuities in the socio-environmental systems of the Atacama Desert during the last 13,000 years. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 46:28-39.

Osorio, D., J.M. Capriles, P.C. Ugalde, K.A. Herrera, M. Sepúlveda, E.M. Gayo, C. Latorre, D. Jackson, R. De Pol-Holz, and C.M. Santoro (2017) Hunter-gatherer mobility strategies in the high Andes of northern Chile during the late Pleistocene–early Holocene Transition (ca. 11,500-9,500 cal B.P.). Journal of Field Archaeology 42(3):228-240.

Capriles, J.M., J. Albarracin-Jordan, U. Lombardo, D. Osorio, B. Maley, S.T. Goldstein, K.A. Herrera, M.D. Glascock, A.I. Domic, H. Veit, and C.M. Santoro (2016) High-altitude adaptation and late Pleistocene foraging in the Bolivian Andes. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 6:463-474.

Capriles, J.M., C.M. Santoro, and T.D. Dillehay (2016) Harsh Environments and the Terminal Pleistocene Peopling of the Andean Highlands. Current Anthropology 57(1):99-100.

Valenzuela, D., C.M. Santoro, J.M. Capriles, M.J. Quinteros, R. Peredo, E.M. Gayo, I. Montt, and M. Sepulveda (2015) Consumption of animals beyond diet in the Atacama Desert, northern Chile (13,000-410 BP): comparing rock art motifs and archaeofaunal records. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 40:250-265.

Marshall, F.B., Keith D., T. Denham, and J.M. Capriles (2014) Evaluating the roles of directed breeding and gene flow in animal domestication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(17):6153-6158.

Capriles, J.M., K.M. Moore, A.I. Domic, and C.A. Hastorf (2014) Fishing and environmental change during the emergence of social complexity in the Lake Titicaca Basin. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 34:66-77.

Capriles, J.M. (2014) Mobile communities and pastoralist landscapes during the Formative Period in the central Altiplano of Bolivia. Latin American Antiquity 25(1):3-26.

Peer-Reviewed Books

Capriles, J.M. (2017) Arqueología del Pastoralismo Temprano de Camélidos en el Altiplano Central de Bolivia. Travaux de l’Institut Français d’Études Andines Vol. 346. Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos (IFEA), Plural Editores, La Paz.

Capriles, J.M. and N. Tripcevich (Eds.) (2016) The Archaeology of Andean Pastoralism. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

Capriles, J.M. (2014) The Economic Organization of Early Camelid Pastoralism in the Andean Highlands of Bolivia. BAR International Series 2597. British Archaeological Reports, Archaeopress, Oxford.