Multidimensional Dialogues: Entangling the Americas’ Pasts, Presents and Futures CRASSH Research Network 2022-2023 seeking to introduce a set of topical and thematic approaches to Archaeology by targeting Science, Technology, and the Arts programming. Our trans-hemispheric framework will enable increased diversity of opinions, widen participation, and help discussants rethink studies of the Americas’ past, present and future.

Cambridge researchers have an invested interest in all geographic reaches of the Americas with many temporal foci that matter beyond a particular space-time. Our distinct interdisciplinary approach fosters original thinking about North and South America, two macro-geographic and conceptual places that are too often divided or distanced from one another, and we launch this research network at an unparalleled time in the study of the Americas with increasing calls for more accurate and responsive analyses of non-European epistemologies that come from the descendants of Indigenous and mixed-heritage communities.

We envision that Multidimensional Dialogues will help lead academics and museum professionals in a productive discourse that engages in disrupting colonial and neo-colonial legacies that linger in the present, re-writing narratives, rethinking the roots of imperialism, slavery and economic inequalities on a global scale.

To this regard, we promote critical thinking about three grand dimensions of Americas research: the Past, Present and Future, but critically add a fourth framing dimension called ‘Action’. Highlighting this last dimension will open up conversations on the realm of advocacy and impact. Our encourages an engagement with descendant communities, Heritage research, and public education. In doing so, we expect to provide spaces for the sharing and discussion of insights and ideas pertaining to legacies and lessons from the Americas’ pre-colonial, early-modern pasts and up to the present day, as well as environmental and cultural legacies across times and geographies.

The Multidimensional Dialogues Research Network will be an exciting expansion of Americas-based scholarly endeavours in Cambridge. We welcome anyone interested in these topics to join us this year in dialoguing about all aspects of the Americas’ past, presents and futures.

We will hold a series of speaker presentations, art exhibitions and cultural events throughout the 2022-23. Please contact Camila Alday with questions.

You can also learn more about our events via the Programme 2022-23 Multidimensional Dialogues tab, connecting with us via our Twitter page, or learning more from the Cambridge Archaeology department’s website.

For enquiries contact the Networks programme manager.



Camila Alday is an archaeologist specialising in bast fibres and weaving technologies of Pre-Columbian South America. Camila is also interested in understanding how containers – mostly made of plants, and basketry were critical material culture for past human societies. Camila has received her BA in Anthropology with a major in Archaeology at University of Tarapaca, in northern Chile. She recently finished her PhD at Cambridge University. In her doctoral research, she studied bast fibre materials to understand how the production of nets, looped bags, mats and other fibre materials underpinned maritime subsistence strategies during the Andean Preceramic Period (10,000 – 3,500 BP).

Oliver Antczak is a Venezuelan and Polish anthropologist and archaeologist interested in the intersection between heritage and identity, particularly in the Caribbean. He received his B.A. in Anthropology and Archaeology from Leiden University College (2016) and an MPhil in Archaeology, Heritage and Museum Studies, at the University of Cambridge (2018). His current PhD research, supported by the ESRC and Gates Cambridge, focuses on understanding how heritage is used in the resurgence and maintenance of Indigenous identities in the Southern Caribbean, and his work is currently focusing on a collaborative and comparative approach to Trinidad, Margarita, and Bonaire.

Joshua Fitzgerald is the 2020-24 Rubinoff Junior Research Fellow in ‘art as a source of knowledge’ (Churchill College) researching the material culture of Mexico. As a trained ethnohistorian in Nahuatl Studies, Joshua has expertise in the archaeology, art and architecture, and cultural history of Mesoamerica. In 2019, he received his PhD (History) and Museum Studies certification from the University of Oregon, and has contributed as a content specialist with several museums, including the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and the Getty Research Institute. His research has been sponsored by several foundations in the U.S., Mexico and U.K., and, in Cambridge, he has enjoyed educating about all aspects of Mesoamerican and Colonial Latin American culture, from the Spanish Conquest in video games to Nahua sacred food-art. Joshua hopes his research projects and supervisions with Cambridge students will help foster the recovery of neglected voices and perspectives from the past to better our future.

Jimena Lobo Guerrero Arenas is Senior Curator of World Archeology at the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. She has a BA in Anthropology and History from the Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia and a MA in History from the same university. She completed her PhD at the University of Bristol and before coming to Cambridge, she was a Lecturer and Curator of Archeology at the Museum Centre of the Universidad de Caldas in Colombia. She is interested in working with material culture from historical periods in Spanish America looking at the interaction between indigenous people, Africans and Europeans. Her research spans the history and archeology of colonialism, practices of resistance, the continuity and change of pre-Columbian technological traditions, postcolonial theory, and sensory responses to the Encounter. More recently, her research has focused on the study of metallurgy in the Americas during the colonial period. She has also worked extensively on museums and cultural heritage. She is particularly interested in giving source communities a leading voice within the narratives that are created for displays and learning experiences. She is interested in research projects that address issues on the histories of collections, past technologies, provenance, the life of objects and repatriation.

Jasmine Vieri is a PhD student at the Department of Archaeology in Cambridge. Her research interests include materials science and computational analysis in archaeology, particularly in relation to examining relationships between humans, their environments, material culture, and technologies – as well as the development of sustainable approaches to re-using legacy data in archaeology to produce large-scale, cross-comparative analysis. Her PhD research, funded by the AHRC, focuses on collating and synthesising the chemical compositions of pre-Columbian gold and copper alloys, with a focus on present-day Colombia, but extending into the area encompassing the Southern Central Andes to present-day Mexico. In order to seek and explain temporal and regional patterning in metallurgical practices, her work explores the role of culture, environmental constraints/affordances, and the selection of technological performance properties in alloy selection.

Faculty advisors

  • Elizabeth DeMarrais (Associate Professor in Archaeology; Senior Postgraduate Tutor, Churchill College; Director of Studies, Churchill and Murray Edwards Colleges, University of Cambridge)
  • Hank Gonzalez (Assistant Professor in Caribbean History; Department of History; Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge)

For enquiries contact the Networks Programme Manager

Programme 2022 - 2023

Lent Term 2023

Theme: Sensory Overload: Soundscapes, Scents, and Visions that Criss-Crossed the Americas

Multidimensional Dialogues
Opening social
18 Jan 2023 16:30 - 18:30, Seminar Room, McDonald Institute, Downing Site, Cambridge

Members of the network

25 Jan 2023 16:30 - 18:30, Online | South Lecture Room, Archaeology Department, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ

Members of the network

Echoes of the past
31 Jan 2023 16:30 - 18:30, Room S1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge

Dianne Scullin (Bristol),  Miriam A. Kolar (Stanford)

POSTPONED | Archaeologies in sight
28 Feb 2023 16:30 - 18:30, Room S1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge

Élodie Dupey García (México)

Sensory overload: archaeologies in sight and recovering scents and lingering tastes
15 Mar 2023 17:00 - 19:00, Online

 Élodie Dupey García (México), Christina Gish Hill (Iowa), Celine Erauw (Cambridge)

Easter Term 2023

Theme: Technological knowledge, frameworks and sustainability through time in the Americas

Multidimensional Dialogues
Past: Technologies of the prehispanic and Colonial Americas
26 Apr 2023 17:00 - 19:00, Online | South Lecture Room, Archaeology Department, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ

Lina Campos Quintero (Museo del Oro),  Marianne Sallum (Lisboa)

Present: Modern-day industry, procurement and production
10 May 2023 17:00 - 19:00, Seminar room, McDonald Institute, Cambridge CB2 3ER

Ryan Cecil Jobson (Chicago)

Future: Sustaining technological knowledge and practice
24 May 2023 17:00 - 19:00, Seminar room, McDonald Institute, Cambridge CB2 3ER

Emilia Ferraro (University of Dundee)

Connecting technologies: A roundtable discussion
7 Jun 2023 17:00 - 19:00, Seminar room, McDonald Institute, Cambridge CB2 3ER

Marcos Martinón-Torres (Cambridge), Jimena Lobo Guerero Arenas (Cambridge)

Michaelmas Term 2022

Theme: Ecologies, environments and the eco-relationships: lessons from the Americas

Multidimensional Dialogues
Palaeoecologies, past, environments and nature: pre-Columbian South America
4 Oct 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Room S1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge

Jose Iriarte (Exeter), David Beresford-Jones (Cambridge)

POSTPONED: Indigenous wisdom and scientific knowledge
18 Oct 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge

Federico Navarrete (Cambridge), Narciso Barrera-Bassols (México)

POSTPONED Looking at the future: what we can learn from the Americas
1 Nov 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge

Nataly Cañales (Copenhagen), Joy Porter (Hull)

Indigenous wisdom and scientific knowledge
8 Nov 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge

Federico Navarrete (Cambridge), Narciso Barrera-Bassols (México)

Art exhibition | Entangled in art-ecologies: environmental aesthetics of the Americas
29 Nov 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge


Postponed: Looking at the future: what we can learn from the Americas
6 Dec 2022 17:00 - 19:00, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge

Nataly Cañales (Copenhagen), Joy Porter (Hull)

Termly Themes

Easter term 2023

Theme: Technological knowledge, frameworks and sustainability through time in the Americas

This series will focus on examining the role of technology in past, present and future societies throughout the continent. The aim is to bridge together lessons from archaeology and present-day Indigenous and other local stakeholder groups in building more sustainable approaches to the adoption, use and advancement of technologies in the globalised, capitalist economies of the present day. The first seminar in Easter term will examine the ingenuity of selected pre-Hispanic technologies across the varied environments of the continent. Some of the showcased examples will highlight how technological advancement, innovation and knowledge was embedded in a non-capitalist worldview, while others will evidence human resilience and adaptation at the face of environmental degradation or processes of socio-political re-organisation. The second seminar will examine the concerns and needs of different groups relating to present-day environmental and social issues that are brought upon by the quest for raw materials (such as metals), and the building of industry for modern-day technologies. At the same time, we will ask in what ways these communities can see technological advancement benefiting themselves. The third talk will then examine sustainable technological practices of present-day populations across the Americas, some of which have continued since pre-Columbian times, as an alternative framework for the future. The fourth seminar rounds the previous discourse with dialogues relating to the first three meetings of the term. Discussants will engage critically with actionable technologies and sustainability as a core theme, and draw upon indigenous knowledge and archaeological research to ask how technological development in the Americas can occur in a more balanced manner, and take into account the interests of all involved stakeholders.


Lent term 2023

Theme: Sensory overload: soundscapes, scents, and visions that criss-crossed the Americas

For Lent Term we gather experts emphasising archaeologies of the Americas’ sensorial worlds: sound, scent, taste, sight, and touch to explore themes of human-environmental impact and agency. An opening social will launch the series and focus of the term’s mission.

The first dialogue, ‘Echoes of the Past,’ will highlight Sound Studies with research relating to in situ and object-based analysis. How can our science and interpretation of soundscapes act as a sounding board for the past, including the latest hi-tech spatial analysis to uncover lost voices and instrumentality?

‘Recovering Scents and Lingering Tastes,’ our second dialogue, churns around scent and taste research helping us rethink the past with experts in archaeologies relating to scents and flavours, residual chemistry that indicates lingering traditions, and iconographies of taste.

The third dialogue, ‘Archaeologies in Sight’ will explore visual cues and optical tools employed by experts to reveal the macro and micro aspects of human-visual traces. How do researchers interpret the observable surfaces of objects and grander landscapes that, in turn, inform today’s studies of human-environmental relationships in the Americas?

‘Articulating the Senses’, the final session of the series, draws together three experts in the crafting of archaeologies of art, opening up a conversation about the senseworlds of expression and critical material culture study. Amplifying themes and topics from our earlier dialogues, our participants and the community will also seek to round out the thematic approaches encountered and situate the enduring insights garnered from the term’s entanglements in the Americas.


Theme: Michaelmas term 2022

Theme: Present

The aim of our Michaelmas series is to think about the relationships among ecologies, belief systems and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (‘TEK’) from past, present and future human experiences. The purpose is to provide an opportunity for collaboration among invited speakers, artists and our research network audience. Key highlights will come from dialoguing about the valuable lessons we learn from studying human and non-human ecologies significant to our uncertain future. We will explore an imagined future from non-Western and traditional lifeways, reflecting on how the Indigenous communities of the Americas can help us rethink sustainability, resilience and alternative strategies to respond to political ecologies and environmental challenges. Rounding out our first series will be an art exhibition featuring reflections on the theme (please see our call-for-participants).


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk