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Photo of Schaefer, Benjamin J.

Benjamin J. Schaefer

Graduate Student

Anthropology, Biological/Archaeology


Building & Room:

BSB 3148C


1007 W. Harrison Street, Chicago, IL. 60607


I am an anthropological bioarchaeologist that conducts research in Andean South America. I am interested in ritual violence and warfare during the political transition to the Inka Empire during the Late Intermediate Period (AD 1100-1476) to the Late Horizon (AD 1476-1532). I am interested in investigating how local ethnic groups that were incorporated into the Inka Empire persisted despite Inka hegemony. I employ a mix method approach to examine palaeodiets and population movement through isotopic biogeochemistry, stress via archaeological cortisol, and palaeogenetics. My previous research investigated stress before being sacrificed at Huaca de los Sacrificios, my future research aims to investigate the potential epigenetic effects of Inka statecraft.

Though my main geographical interest is thematically centered in Andean Peru, I have conducted research with archaeological assemblages from the Classic and Post-Classic Maya, Imperial Rome, Early Berliner Settlements, and the Colonial Era on the North Coast in the Zana. Additionally, I compliment my training in bioarchaeology with forensic anthropology both in the United States and internationally.

Selected Grants

Univ. of Illinois at Chicago, Gender and Women’s Studies Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2022, fellow

American Museum of Natural History, American Museum of Natural History Collections Grant, 2022

University of Florida, Latin American Studies Research Fellowship Grant, 2022

Division of Pre-Columbian Studies, Washington D.C., Short Term Predoctoral Fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks, 2019, fellow

Massachusetts Cultural Council, Local Cultural Council of Tyringham, 2016-2022

Georgia State University, Leszek Wegrzyn Grant, 2016

Selected Publications

2021 Zechini, Mariana E., Kristina Killgrove, Claudia M. Melisch, Bethany L. Turner, Benjamin J. Schaefer. Diachronic Changes in Diet in Medieval Berlin: Comparison of Dietary Isotopes from Pre- and Post- Black Death Adults. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports (38) 103064.

2019 Turner, Bethany L., Parker VanValkenburgh, Benjamin J. Schaefer, Kristina Lee. Forced Resettlement and Dietary Change: Multi-Isotopic Analysis of Human Remains from Colonial Carrizales, Zaña Valley, Peru. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 89:54-67.

2018 Turner, Bethany L., Véronique Bélisle, Allison R. Davis, Maeve Skidmore, Sara L. Juengst, Benjamin J. Schaefer, Alan Covey, Brian S. Bauer. Diet and Foodways Across Five Millennia in the Cusco Region of Perú. Journal of Archaeological Science 98:137-148.

2018 Schaefer, Benjamin J. Fake News, Fake Science? Reflections of Teaching Introduction to Biological Anthropology in the Era of Trump. Teaching and Learning Anthropology 1(1):61-70.

2023 Schaefer, Benjamin J., Haagen D. Klaus, Bethany L Turner. “Social Hauntings of Tributes during the Late Horizon (1470-1532 CE) in the Lambayeque Valley, Peru. In A Bioarchaeological Exploration of Women’s Roles and Life Histories in Ancient Times: The Hidden Lives of Women, edited by Christine Lee and Katherine Miller Wolf. Routledge.

2022 Schaefer, Benjamin J. “I Don’t Think the Science Knows, Actually”: The Biocultural Impacts of Trump’s Anti-Science and Misinformation Rhetoric, the Mishandling of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and Institutionalized Racism. In The Anthropology of Donald Trump: Culture and the Exceptional Moment, edited by Jack David Eller. Routledge.

Service to Community

2018    Empowerment Resource Center 11thAnnual ‘Take Charge, Get Tested” Event, Atlanta, Georgia. 27 June.

2017-2018       School Disease Incidence Rate and Outbreak through Social Media for Centers for Disease Control and Preventions. October-August.

2017    SafeHouse Outreach for the Homeless. 27 September.

2017    Aniz Inc. Support Services Agency – STI and HIV testing. 20 September.

2017    Martin Luther King Jr. 365 Non-Violence Summer Camp – Advances in Technology through Music and Art, in conjunction with Apple Inc. 28 June.

Notable Honors

2016, Who's Who Among College Students, Georgia State University


2018 - MPH Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Georgia State University
2017 - M.A. Anthropology, Georgia State University
2015 - B.A. Biological Anthropology; German Language and Literature; Indigenous American Studies, Drew University

Licensures and Certifications

2017 – Graduate Certificate, Latin American Studies, Georgia State University

2014 – Forensic Excavation Methods, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Forensic Anthropology Center

Professional Memberships

American Association of Physical Anthropology
American Anthropological Association
Society for American Archaeology
Paleopathology Association
Human Biology Association
American Association of Anthropological Genetics
Asociación Latinoamericana de Anthropología Forense
International Society for Infectious Disease

Selected Presentations

2022             Schaefer, Benjamin J. Salacious Sacrifice? Locating the Queer Necropolitical Process of Death Making in (Bio)archaeological Research. Accepted Paper to the 87th Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archaeology, Chicago, Illinois.

2021                Schaefer, Benjamin J., Gabriel Prieto, John Verano. My Heart in Their Hand: Inferring Psychosocial Stress from a Mass Child Sacrifice, Pampa La Cruz, Peru. Submitted Paper to the 90th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropology, Baltimore, Maryland.

2019                Schaefer, Benjamin J., Bethany L. Turner, Sloan R. Williams, Nicola O. Sharratt. Reconstructing Life Histories at the Site of Estuquiña: Incorporating Isotopic Data from Archaeological Hair to Investigate Palaeodietary Trends. Submitted Paper/Poster to the 84thAnnual Meeting of the Society of American Archaeology, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

2018                Schaefer, Benjamin J.,Sloan R. Williams, Nicola O. Sharratt. Endogenous Cortisol Production in Archaeological Hair from Lupaqa Colonists at the Site of Estuquiña in Southern Peru. AcceptedPoster to the 87thAnnual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropology, Austin, Texas.

2018                Schaefer, Benjamin J.,Sloan Williams, Nicola O. Sharratt. Constructing a Colony: Investigating Stress from Archaeological Hair Cortisol from a Lupaqa Colony at Estuquiña. Submitted Poster to the 46thAnnual Meeting of the Midwest Conference on Andean and Amazonian Archaeology and Ethnohistory, Chicago, Illinois

2017                Schaefer, Benjamin J.,Shannon A. Lowman, Nicola O. Sharratt. A Bioarchaeological Investigation of a Double Internment at Tumilaca La Chimba.Accepted Poster to the 36thAnnual Meeting of the Northeast Conference on Andean and Amazonian Archaeology and Ethnohistory, at The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

2017    Schaefer, Benjamin J., Bethany L. Turner, Haagen D. Klaus. Sacrificed Reconsidered: Interpreting Stress from Archaeological Hair at Huaca de los Sacrificios. Accepted Poster to the 82ndAnnual Meeting of the Society of American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Research Currently in Progress

Currently, I am working on hair samples from the site of Estuquina in southern Peru to obtain stable isotopes to compliment previous cortisol data. Other current research slated for 2019 is sampling hair from sacrificed women and children from Huaca de los Sacrificios and Huanchaquito-Las Llamas on the north coast of Peru. Additionally, I will begin survey of the archaeological site called Yarkan, which is located in the Ancash region of Peru starting in 2019.