Elizabeth Jean Currie

Elizabeth Jean Currie

Dr, Ms

Former affiliation

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile



I obtained my BA in archaeology in 1975, and her PhD in 1989, both at University College London Institute of Archaeology. My PhD was on archaeological investigations of shell midden sites in El Oro province, south coastal Ecuador entitled ‘Cultural relationships in southern Ecuador 300 BC - AD 300: excavations at the Guarumal and Punta Brava Sites’.  This research focused upon ceramic assemblages and their different inter-regional relationships and sequences, but also explored environmental changes wrought by local El Niño episodes on the prehistoric occupation of the region, and the exploitation of different shell fish species through time.

My association with the Department of Archaeology, University of York goes back to the 1990s, during which time I carried out research related to my specialist interests in the Americas, particularly Ecuador (the Lopez Viejo Project; The Impact of Europe on Ecuador in the 16th Century).

In November 2016 I was appointed to the Department of Archaeology as a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellow, funded under the EC’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Initiative. The new project I am leading is called ‘ MEDICINE. Indigenous concepts of health and healing in Andean populations. The relevance of traditional MEDICINE in a changing world’.  This project will develop my long standing interests in indigenous Andean cosmology and traditional knowledge. Given the trans-disciplinary nature of the project,I am also working with the University of York, Department of Health Sciences, as a Senior Visiting Research Fellow. 

Research interests

My research interests focus on the archaeology and ethnohistory of the Americas, including pre-Columbian, Spanish Conquest and early Colonial periods and I havecarried out a number of projects dealing with the archaeology of Ecuador in particular.

I have also carried out historical research into the early colonial period of Latin America, working with original historical documents and chronicles.  Studies of these early texts led to an interest in the impact of the Spanish Conquest and European culture on prehispanic indigenous societies in the Andean region. 

My interests include cognitive approaches to human behaviour and construction of identity as seen through material culture, and in expressions of indigenous cosmology, being and belief, especially with societies practising shamanistic religions.  The impact of imposed Christian religion upon indigenous pre Columbian cosmology, beliefs and rituals and how this is reflected in material culture is a particular interest. 

Education/Academic qualification

PHD, Institute of Archaeology, University College London


Award Date: 21 Feb 1990

BA, Institute of Archaeology, University College London


Award Date: 30 Jul 1975


  • CC Archaeology
  • Andean archaeology