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Department of Archaeology



I am a Chilean archaeologist investigating the use of plants for technology and fabrics in Pre-Columbian coastal societies. I completed my bachelor’s degree at University of Tarapaca in the Department of Anthropology where I started to become interested in the technology of plants-fibres and textiles in South America

2017-2021: CONICYT-Chile Cambridge Trust Scholarship

2017-present: PhD in Archaeology, University of Cambridge

2008-2012: BA in Anthropology with a major in Archaeology, University of Tarapaca, Chile.


I am investigating plant-fibre artefacts made by hunter-gatherer societies that inhabited the West coast of South America between 12,000 and 3,700 years ago.   Through conducting archaeobotanical and structural analyses on artefacts from Peru-Chile coastal sites, I am developing scientific techniques for the study of plant technology in ancient societies, a topic which is underexplored in Archaeology

From a theoretical perspective, I propose to combine ‘artistic and scientific approaches.  Because I am trying to centre the archaeological interpretation on peoples’ movements and technological gestures, I am developing a theoretical framework that uses dance as metaphor to describe ‘the choreography of technical actions’ performed by artisans, likely women, upon the landscape and plants.

My area of interest includes

  • The use of plants for technology
  • Fabrics and textile technology
  • Hunter-gatherers of coastal environments.
  • Dance theory & Body discipline, specifically Laban and Benesh choreographic notation.
  • Plant philosophy and behavioural ecology


Key Publications

Key publications: 

2010a Alday C. and B. Cases. Tecnología en fibra vegetal del sitio La Capilla 1 (norte de Chile).  Proceedings of the National Conference of Chilean Archaeology: 375- 380

2010b Alday, C. and C. Castillo. Cuerpos en el Arcaico: una aproximación teórica para su (de)construcción. Proceedings of the National Conference of Chilean Archaeology: 563- 566

2014 Oyanader, A., Alday, C. Sepúlveda, M. and D. Valenzuela 2014. Pinturas rupestres y desarrollo cultural costero de la costa del extremo norte de Chile (2,000 A.C al presente). Mundo de Antes 8:179-194

2018 Alday, C. and A. Oyaneder Actividades tecnológicas articuladoras: una interpretación fértil del paisaje desértico costero de Arica (Chile). Revista del Museo de La Plata 3(1): 96-111.

2019 Alday C. and S. Morrisset. Desert Archaeology: Introduction.  Archaeological Review from Cambridge 34(1):2-14. 

2021 Beresford-Jones , D.; Pomeroy, E.; Alday, C.; Benfer, R.;  Quilter, J.; C. O’Connell, T. and Lightfoot, E. Diet and Lifestyle in the First Villages of the Middle Preceramic: Insights from Stable Isotope and Osteological Analyses of Human Remains from Paloma, Chilca I, La Yerba III, and Morro I Latin American Antiquity 

Teaching and Supervisions


I am involved in the supervision of the following courses:

A2 Archaeology in Action

A21 Archaeological Science

A12 Archaeological Theory and Practice  II

Research supervision: 

Supervisors: David Beresford-Jones, Elizabeth Demarrais

Advisor:   Margarita Gleba

Other Professional Activities

General member of the Society for American Archaeology (2019-2020)

General Editor of the Archaeological Review from Cambridge (June 2019- January 2020)

Job Titles

PhD Student in Archaeology

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Artefact Analysis & Technology
Archaeological Theory
Environmental Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, and Landscape studies

Contact Details

cca28 [at]


Person keywords: 
South America
Material Culture
Geographical areas: 
Periods of interest: 
Other Prehistory