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Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work

Ryan Scott Hechler

Ph.D. student in Anthropology, Tulane University

M.A. in Anthropology, Tulane University, 2018

M.A. in Anthropology, McGill University, 2014

Post-Baccalaureate Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2010

Dual B.A.s in History & Art History, Minors in Anthropology, Native American Studies, Religious Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University 2009

 GIS Specialist-Archaeologist, SASW Department, Fort Riley Cultural Resources, Fort Riley, KS 66442, Phone: (785) 240-0363, email: rhechler@ksu.edu

Ryan Scott Hechler represents Kansas State University’s Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work as the inter-governmental support GIS Specialist for cultural resources at Fort Riley, where he manages geospatial information pertaining to regional archaeology. His research has primarily focused on understanding past and present Native American societies in the Andes as well as the North American Southwest, Southeast and, now, the Plains. Through his combined use of archaeology, GIS, and, when possible, ethnohistory, it is his constant goal to bridge the past and present and to accurately document and represent cultural landscapes.

He is an Anthropology PhD student at Tulane University, a Research Associate with the University of New Mexico’s Latin American & Iberian Institute, and Chair of the Society for American Archaeology’s Student Affairs Committee. Since 2016, he studies Cusco Quechua supported by the US Department of Education’s Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship. He holds an Anthropology MA from McGill University (2014) and he completed a Post-Baccalaureate Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems at Virginia Commonwealth University (2010) as well as History and Art History dual BAs (2009).

His doctoral research focuses on the development of late Pre-Columbian Barbacoan identity and complexity in Ecuador and regional transitional colonial experiences under the Inkas and Spanish via archaeology, GIS, and ethnohistory. His principal site of archaeological investigation is Cochasquí in the northern highlands of Ecuador, a monumental center defined by its large earthen pyramids and burial mounds. This site is a central focus of the Proyecto Arqueológico Cochasquí-Mojanda, which he is a director and founder of. Additionally, he investigates late Pre-Columbian to Early-Spanish Colonial transformations of Andean notions of difference and disability.

Within his recent professional work in New Mexico, he studied the “non-Pueblo” world of southern and southeastern New Mexico – understanding Pre-Columbian cultural developments of hunter-gatherer societies, their interregional relationships with Pueblo societies, and the subsequent impacts of the colonial Spanish, Mexican, and American governments on the Apache, particularly the Mescalero and Chiricahua societies. Other past archaeological projects he has been involved with include surveying in Ancestral Pueblo and Navajo lands in northwestern New Mexico, excavating a Mogollon settlement in southwestern New Mexico,surveying in Fremont and Ute lands throughout Utah, excavations of Caddo settlements in east Texas, surveying and excavations of Powhatan settlements in Virginia, excavations of the Tiwanaku-contemporary site of Pukara in Peru, as well as surveying and excavating Colonial, Revolutionary War, and Civil War sites in the Mid-Atlantic; he also served as the Assistant Site Director of George Washington’s Boyhood Home of Ferry Farm in Virginia. He has performed GIS analyses in the GIS analyses in the aforementioned regions as well as for a project studying an Inuit settlement in Nunavut, Canada.


2021 (Forthcoming) Over the Andes, and Through their Goods: Integration Period Relations in Northern Ecuador. In The Archaeology of the Upper Amazon: Complexity and Interaction in the Andean Tropical Forest. Ryan Clasby and Jason Nesbitt, eds. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

2020 The Azotea Peak Ring Midden Survey: A Cultural Landscape of Subsistence and Feasting around the Azotea Mesa of the Permian Basin, Eddy Co., NM. NewsMAC: Newsletter of the New Mexico Archeological Council 2020(1):16-19.


2019 Born This Way, Becoming That Way: Difference, Disability and Sickness in Inka Society. Paper presented at the invited session “Medicine and Healing in the Americas: Archaeological and Ethnohistorical Perspectives” – Society for American Archaeology 84th Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, NM. (Apr. 11)

2018 Principios y Terminaciones: una deconstrucción de la identidad étnica precolombina tardía en el norte de Ecuador a través de una evaluación de las relaciones interregionales. Paper presented at the organized session “Deconstruyendo los cacicazgos del norte: Nuevas reflexiones sobre las sociedades de la prehistoria tardía de la sierra norte del Ecuador” – IX Reunión de Teoría Arqueológica de América del Sur, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador-Sede Ibarra, Ecuador. (Jun. 6)

2018 Cochasquí, Ecuador: Recent Research and Future Directions. Paper presented at the Middle American Research Institute’s Brown Bag Series, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA. (Apr. 27)

2018 Over the Andes, and Through their Goods: Integration Period Relations in Northern Ecuador. Paper presented at the invited session “No Longer a Transitional Zone: Local Developments, Interaction, and Exchange in the Ceja de Selva” – Society for American Archaeology 83rd Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. (Apr. 13)

2017 Beyond Monumentality: Looking Past the Pyramids of Cochasquí, Ecuador. Paper presented in the session Northern South America II: Mobility, Landscapes, and Socialscapes at the Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC. (Mar. 31)

2017 “And Those Who Could Return to Ash and Dust”: The Inka Conquest of Cochasquí and the Initial Push into Northern Ecuador. Co-authored by William S.Pratt, David O. Brown, Estanislao Pazmiño. Paper presented at the Midwest Conference on Andean and Amazonian Archaeology and Ethnohistory, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH. (Feb. 19)

2016 Beyond the Cultural Pale?: Contextualizing El Morro de Tulcán within Regional Earthen Mound Development in the Northern Andes. Co-authored by William S. Pratt. Paper presented in the session Archaeology of Northern South America: Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela at the Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL. (Apr. 9)

2016 Where the Sun Sets: A Reconstruction of the Northern Frontier of Tawantinsuyu. Paper presented at the Institute of Andean Studies Annual Meeting, University of California, Berkeley, CA. (Jan. 9)

2015 Snakes on a Pampa: An Examination of the Inkas’ Physical and Spiritual Commodification of Serpents. Co-authored by William S. Pratt. Paper presented at the Northeastern Conference on Andean Archaeology and Ethnohistory, Toronto, ON. (Oct. 17)

2015 “A Sick and Unhealthy Land”: An Assessment of the Inkas’ Relationships with Montaña and Selva Societies. Paper presented at the Society for Amazonian & Andean Studies Biannual Meeting, Baton Rouge, LA. (Sept. 27)

2015 Representing Difference in the Pre-Columbian Andes: An Iconographic Examination of Physical “Disability.” Co-authored by William S. Pratt. Paper presented at the Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA. (Apr. 18)

2014 Creating Disability: The Social Transition of Hank’akuna under Inka and Spanish Rule. Paper presented at the Northeastern Conference on Andean Archaeology and Ethnohistory, Burlington, VT. (Oct. 19)