PhD, 2012, Anthropology, Northwestern University
Dr. Overholtzer is an anthropological archaeologist who investigates the everyday material practices of ordinary people living in ancient Mexico. She has conducted extensive fieldwork at Xaltocan, a Postclassic and Colonial period site in central Mexico, where she investigated the ways in which local household life was transformed under successive imperial conquests. By exploring the way in which ordinary people reconfigured their material surroundings and (re)formed their daily lives after two drastic military defeats, this research re-centers our understanding of Aztec and Spanish colonial empires around the lives of rural commoners. Dr. Overholtzer’s research employs a bottom-up perspective in theory and in practice, and she is committed to decolonizing archaeological practice through community archaeology and collaboration with descendant communities.
Her research works to bridge disciplinary chasms between archaeological theorists and archaeological scientists through the application of geoarchaeological and molecular archaeology analyses to research questions derived from social theories of materiality, agency and practice, and embodiment. Her research interests include the study of households and the articulation between the macro- and micro-scales of society; space and place; and gender, ethnic, and age-based identities in ancient Mesoamerica. Analytical specialties include analysis of ceramics, especially figurines and decorated serving vessels, geochemical provenance analyses, and ancient DNA analysis.