Christopher Schwartz

PO Box 872402
Post Doctoral Scholars

Student Information

Graduate Student
The College of Lib Arts & Sci


Christopher Schwartz is a visiting scholar specializing in the archaeology of North America. His research interests include better understanding the long-distance exchange and interaction between pre-Hispanic people of Mesoamerica and the US Southwest and how past humans interacted with animals, especially in religion and ritual. He is also interested in archaeological applications of isotope biogeochemistry, and has worked since 2014 in the Archaeological Chemistry Laboratory.

His work as a postdoctoral research scholar on the Connections Research Project focuses on database creation and management for the documentation of nonlocal and Mesoamerican-like objects in northwest Mexico and the US Southwest. In this role, he has explored how people manipulate local and distant social connections to establish and maintain sociopolitical institutions. 

He recently earned his doctorate at Arizona State University and his dissertation research combined his interests in long-distance exchange and isotope biogeochemistry to explore the acquisition, treatment, and deposition of scarlet macaws at three regional centers (Pueblo Bonito in northwest New Mexico, Wupatki in northern Arizona, and Paquimé in northwestern Chihuahua) located in the US southwest and Mexican northwest between 900 and 1450 CE. His research demonstrated that past people interpreted rare and non-local scarlet macaws in different ways, which corresponded to region-specific patterns of acquisition and deposition in larger processes of placemaking over time and across space in the US Southwest and Mexican Northwest. 

Google Scholar

Research Interests

Pre-contact archaeology of US Southwest and Mexican Northwest; isotope biogeochemistry in archaeology; long-distance exchange and acquisition; zooarchaeology; ritual use of animals; archaeology of ritual and religion


2021 Shepard, Lindsay M., Will G. Russell, Christopher WSchwartz, Robert S. Weiner, and Ben A. Nelson. The Social Use and Value of Blue-Green Stone Mosaics at Sites within Canal System 2, Phoenix Basin, Hohokam Regional System. American Antiquity. DOI: 10.1017/aaq.2020.111.

2021  Schwartz, Christopher W., Andrew D. Somerville, Ben A. Nelson, and Kelly J. Knudson. Investigating Pre-Hispanic Scarlet Macaw Origins through Radiogenic Strontium Isotope Analysis at Paquimé in Chihuahua, Mexico. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 61:101256. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2020.101256.

2019  Baller, Kendall, Marcus Lorang, Christopher W. Schwartz, and Christopher Morehart. “Analysis of Archaeobotanical Samples from Cuychen”. In The Realm Below: Speleoarchaeological Investigations in the Macal River Valley, Belize, edited by C. Helmke, pp. 195-203. Precolumbia Mesoweb Press, San Francisco.

2018  Schwartz, Christopher W. A Contextual Analysis of Ritual Fauna and Socially Integrative Architecture in the Tonto Basin, Arizona. Kiva 84(3):317–341. DOI:10.1080/00231940.2018.1463684.

Research Activity

Project Co-PIScarlet Macaws, Distant Exchange, and the Establishment of Central Places in the US Southwest & Mexican Northwest, ca. 900-1450 CE. National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, B. Nelson (PI), K.J. Knudson (Co-PI). Tempe, AZ, 2019-pres.

Project Co-Director (current) & Graduate Research Associate (previously)Connections and Impacts of Northwest Mexico Project, B. Nelson, J.L. Punzo, & C.W. Schwartz (PIs). Tempe, AZ, 2019-pres., 2013-2017. 

Database Manager & Zooarchaeologist, La Quemada-Malpaso Valley Archaeological Project, B. Nelson (PI). Tempe, AZ & Zacatecas, ZAC, 2017-pres.

Project Co-PI, Ancient Mitochondrial DNA Analysis of Turkey Remains in the U.S. Southwest, S. Winingear, S.E. Oas, & C.W. Schwartz. Tempe, AZ, 2019-pres.

Isotopic Analyst & Project Co-PI, Cibola Turkey Project, S.E. Oas & C.W. Schwartz. Tempe, AZ, 2017-pres.

Field Archaeologist & Zooarchaeologist, Chicoloapan-Coatepec Archaeological Project: Long Term Urban Change in Response to Societal Collapse, S. Clayton (PI). Madison, WI & Coatepec, MEX, 2018-pres.

Field Archaeologist, Collaborative Research: Polity and Urbanization at Teotihuacan, Mexico: Investigations at the Plaza of the Columns Complex, S. Sugiyama, N. Sugiyama, D. Carballo, V. Ortega, B. Fash (PIs). Tempe, AZ & San Juan, MEX, 2015-2016.

Field ArchaeologistRoots of Casas Grandes Archaeological Project, M. Searcy & T. Pitezel (PIs). Viejo Casas Grandes, CHH, 2014.


Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 353Death&Dying Cross-Culturl Prsp
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 333Frauds, Myths and Mysteries


2021 Powers Prize, Pecos Conference

2020 Fred Plog Memorial Fellowship, Society for American Archaeology

2020 Graduate Excellence Award, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, ASU

2019 Graduate Scholarship, PaleoWest Foundation

2019 Directorate Teaching Award, School of Human Evolution & Social Change, ASU

2019 Honorable Mention, Rupp� Prize in Archaeology, School of Human Evolution & Social Change, ASU

2019 Graduate Excellence Award, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, ASU

2017 Student Leader Award, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, ASU

2016 Graduate Excellence Award, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, ASU

2012 Jose Franco & Francisco Ocampo Quesada Research Award, Barrett, the Honors College

2011 Southwest Archaeology Award, Dons & Do�as of Arizona

2011 Student Convocation Speaker, Barrett, the Honors College

Professional Associations

Archaeology Southwest, Arizona Archeological and Historical Society (AAHS), Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis (CfAS), Society for American Archaeology (SAA)


2021-pres. Committee Member, Student Paper Award Committee, Society for American Archaeology

2020-pres. Ad-hoc Reviewer for National Science Foundation, American Antiquity, eLife

2020 Barrett Alumni Opportunity Scholarship Reviewer, Barrett, the Honors College, ASU

2018-pres. Co-Founder & Co-Organizer, Southern Southwest Archaeological Conference 

2017-2018 President, Association of All Graduate Students of SHESC, ASU

2016-2017 Vice President, Association of All Graduate Students of SHESC, ASU

2015-2017 Travel Grant Reviewer, Graduate & Professional Student Association, ASU

2015-2016 Archaeology Approach Representative, Association of All Graduate Students of SHESC, ASU

2015 Centennial Professorship Award Reviewer, Graduate & Professional Student Association, ASU

2014-2015 Graduate Student Mentor, Association of All Graduate Students of SHESC, ASU