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Department of Archaeology



I am an Archaeologist investigating the use of fibrous plants in Pre-Columbian coastal societies looking at past and present traditional knowledge of weaving and textile plants.

I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a Major in Archaeology from the University of Tarapaca Arica-Chile. My undergraduate dissertation focused on archaeological plant-fibre artefacts from the La Capilla 1 site in northern Chile, dating back to 2,000 BP. 

I obtained a PhD from the Department of Archaeology, U. of Cambridge During this time, I investigated bast fibre technologies on South America's west coast during 10,000-3,500 BP. This research allowed me to initiate further investigations into the technological process of fibre production. I characterized early weaving structures used for nets, mats, skirts, and bags and reconstructed the chaîne opératoire of bast fibre production.
I am a member of the Americas Archaeology Group and co-founder of the CRASSH Network MultiDimensional Dialogues of the Americas (2022-2024). 


I specialize in Archaeobotany of textile plants to reconstruct plant fibre production among early coastal hunter-gatherers (10,000-3,500 BP). My research involves the examination of macros and microscopy of plant fibre artefacts from the Peruvian and Chilean coasts, leading to the identification of wild-gathered plants from wetland environments, and cotton (G. barbadense)  used in fishing nets, looped bags, mats, etc.

My current project as a Hosted Fellow at the McD, titled Early plant domestication and fabric technologies: new approaches to study South America’s cotton (Gossypium barbadense) focus on  the process of South America’s cotton domestication and how we can better understand this process by integrating archaeobotanical, and structural analyses. My research aims to advance archaeobotanical methods and generate new data to investigate the ecological and technological aspects of cotton domestication and its cultivation for textile production among early hunter-gatherer societies on South America's west coast.

I am currently collaborating with:
-    Dr. Shah (U. Cambridge) and Dr Alain Bourmaud (U. Bretagne Sud) for applying structural methods involving 3D micro-computed tomography and atomic force microscopy to analyse fibres.
-    Dr Jimena Lobos-Guerrero (MAA) in the study of Peruvian textiles and cotton fishing nets (Recipient Crowther-Beynond Fund)
-    Lucrezia Milillo (St. Andrews) to study new evidence of bast fibres in khipus, (IPHERION-HS Funding)




Key Publications

Key publications: 

1.    ALDAY, C., Garcia, M.A., Alarcon, C. and Beresford-Jones, D. (2023) The Use and Context of Fibre Plants During the Middle Preceramic: Evidence from La Yerba II and III, South coast of Peru. Frontiers in Environmental Archaeology, 2, p.1251137.
2.    ALDAY, C. (2022) Chapter 5: Early fibre Production in the West coast of South America: The case of plant-fibre technology of the South coast of Peru. In, A. Dickey, M. Gleba, S. Hitchens, and G. Longhitano (eds.) Exploring Ancient Textiles: Pushing the Boundaries of Established Methodologies: 40 (Ancient Textiles Series) pp,55-68. Oxford: Oxbows. 
3.    Calás, E. Sepúlveda, M., Silva-Pinto, V., ALDAY, C., García, M., Rafael Labarca, R., Jimena Valenzuela, J., Osorio, D., y Valenzuela D., (2023) Vivir en la costa: El sitio Cueva La Capilla 1 en el contexto de transición Arcaico-Formativo en el extremo norte de Chile. Revista CUHSO Numero 33 (3), 
4.    Beresford-Jones, D., Pomeroy, E., ALDAY C., Quilter, J. Benfer, R., O'Connell, T and. Lightfoot, E. (2021). 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 America Antiquity, 32(4), 741-759. 4.

5.    ALDAY, C. and Oyaneder, A. (2018) Actividades tecnológicas articuladoras: una interpretación fértil del paisaje desértico costero de Arica (Chile). Revista del Museo de La Plata, 3(18), 96-11.

6.    Oyaneder A., ALDAY C., Sepúlveda M. and D. Valenzuela (2015). Pinturas rupestres y desarrollo cultural costero del extremo norte de Chile (2.000 a.c. al presente). Mundo de antes 8, 179-194.

Other Publications 

1.    ALDAY, C. and Morrisset, S. (eds) 2019. Introduction, Archaeological Review from Cambridge, Desert Archaeology, Vol. 34, 2-14 5. 
2.    E. Dogan, M. P. L. Pereira, O. Antczak, M. Lin, P. Thompson and C. ALDAY (Eds.) 2022 Diversity in Archaeology. Proceedings of the Cambridge Annual Student Archaeology Conference 2020/2021, ArchaeoPress Access Archaeology.

3.    ALDAY, C. 2022. Chapter 1: Beating Androcentric Narratives.

4.    Sepúlveda, M. Oyaneder, A. ALDAY, C and C. Castillo (Eds). 2015. Actas del XIX Congreso Nacional de Arqueología Chilena, Arica 2012. Universidad de Tarapacá, press. ISBN 978-956-7021-50-8 3. In this Proceedings I published

5.     ALDAY, C. and B. Cases. 2015. Tecnología en fibra vegetal del sitio La Capilla 1, Norte de Chile.

6.     ALDAY, C. and C. Castillo. 2015. Corporalidad en el Periodo Arcaico. Un marco teórico para su deconstrucción.

Teaching and Supervisions


In the past I have been  involved in the supervision of the following courses:

A2 Archaeology in Action;  A21 Archaeological Science and A12 Archaeological Theory and Practice  II

I have also taught at Chilean Universities: Social Anthropology (2014) and Archaeology of Northern Chile (2023)

I am currently a Supervisor for B1 (2023-2024) 

Research supervision: 

Research Sponsor: Dr Elizabeth Demarrais


Job Titles

Hosted Fellow, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

General Info

Available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Artefact Analysis & Technology
Environmental Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, and Landscape studies

Contact Details

cca28 [at]
McDonald Institute
West Building


Person keywords: 
Textile crops
Bast fibres
South America
Material Culture
Rethinking Complexity
Geographical areas: 
Periods of interest: 
Other Prehistory