Ted Pedas “Science at Sea

Dr. Susan D. deFrance

South America —Voyage to Lost Civilizations

Susan deFrance was fascinated by the rich history of her birthplace and home, New Orleans. While most people are aware of the riches above ground, few are aware that the buried archaeological past is equally rich in both historical and prehistoric culture. This longtime interest in archaeology and history culminated in a career in archeology.

Dr. deFrance is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida and research affiliate at the Florida Museum of Natural History. DeFrance was previously Curator of Archaeology at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. She has held teaching appointments at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and the University of Montana.

DeFrance is a specialist in zooarchaeology, the study of animal remains from archaeological sites. In addition to studying how past cultures adapted to their environments and the animals past peoples venerated, she has delved into how cuisine is formed and changes through time. She has conducted research in the Southeastern United States, the Caribbean, the Yucatan, Peru and Bolivia.

DeFrance completed her Masters and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Florida. Expanding on her interest in the use of coastal resources by prehistoric peoples on the Gulf coast, she studied early migrants to the Greater Antilles, specifically Puerto Rico. She conducted innovative research on human exploitation of coastal foods and human impact on island ecosystems for her Masters degree.

Her doctoral research brought her to southern Peru where she participated in a multi-year project on Spanish colonial wineries or bodegas. Bodegas that were established by the Spaniards in the sixteenth century provided wine and brandy for the thriving colonial economy. These institutions were also one of the strongest sources of cultural interaction between Spaniards and the indigenous population of Peru. Her research specifically considered the introduction of Iberian cuisine to Peru.

Most recently DeFrance has been investigating a 12,000 year old coastal site on the far southern coast of Peru. This research received considerable attention in the popular press with the publication of initial results and the proposition that some of the earliest inhabitants of the Americas ate a diet of marine birds and shellfish rather than a diet of big game.

DeFrance has published numerous journal articles, reports, and papers on various aspects of zooarchaeology, coastal settlement, and historical archaeology including publications in Science, Historical Archaeology, British Archaeological Reports, and Latin American Antiquity.

Dr. deFrance will share her enthusiasm for Caribbean and Andean archaeology with cruise passengers.

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E-mail:   Ted Pedas — mpedas@ix.netcom.com