I am an anthropological archaeologist with nearly four decades of experience working in Andean South America. My current work focuses on representations of hallucinogenic substances and the experience of altered states of consciousness in Formative period (c. 1200-800 BCE) pottery. In addition to identifying these "shamanic" practices, I am investigating how the ability to properly prepare and ingest these substances and subsequently interpret the experience of using them gave certain people greater power and authority in these early societies. My previous work focused primarily on craft production, particularly ceramics and textiles. In that work, I investigated how different societies have organized their economic activities in order to provide people with the things they need, how participation in particular crafting activities defined peoples' identity (gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, etc.), and how controlling those activities (and the distribution of the things artisans made) supported the power of rulers in early Andean societies. I am also interested in how ancient peoples -- especially those without writing systems -- used their material culture (pottery, textiles, buildings, etc.) to communicate important ideas, values, and beliefs.
I teach classes in world prehistory, archaeological method and theory, the prehistory of Andean South America, art and anthropology, gender in antiquity, and archaeological lab methods.

  • Ph.D. 1986, University of California Los Angeles
  • M.A. 1980, University of California Los Angeles
  • B.A. 1978, University of California Los Angeles

Research Interest data is currently not available.


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Department Chair

SH 240C


MailDrop: 91330-8244


cathy.l.costin@csun.edu

P: 818-677-3324


F: 818-677-2873