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Research / Discovery

Archaeologist explores Mexico's Lake Patzcuaro Basin

April 21, 2009

Colorado State University archaeology Professor Christopher T. Fisher has been awarded a National Science Foundation senior research grant for archaeological research within the Lake Patzcuaro Basin in Michoacan, Mexico. At the time of European Conquest the lake basin was the geopolitical core of the Purepecha (Tarascan) Empire, which controlled much of western Mexico.

Legacies of Resilience

The $210,000 NSF grant supports Fisher's research in a project called Legacies of Resilience: The Lake Patzcuaro Archaeology Project.

"This generous award will allow us to apply state-of-the-art geographic information system and global positioning technology to better understand the formation and growth of the Purepecha Empire," said Fisher.

Cultures and climate change

The NSF award allows Fisher and colleagues including Helen Pollard from Michigan State University, to conduct two seasons of multidisciplinary research in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin exploring relationships between climatic fluctuation, landscape change and the formation of the prehispanic Purepecha (Tarascan) Empire.

Researchers will develop a fuller understanding of the development of prehistoric societies in the region; explore relationships between cultural and development and climate change; explain the human role in landscape change; and provide prehistoric case studies that can aid modern conservation in the region.

Exploring prehistoric societies

Legacies of Resilience: The Lake Patzcuaro Archaeology Project is a long-term multidisciplinary project by archaeologists, geologists and geographers from the United States and Mexico. Its goal is to better understand the development of the Purepecha (Tarascan) Empire.

The investigation team is composed of scientists from Colorado State University, Michigan State University, University of Wyoming, The Instituto de Investigaciones Metalurgicas, Morelia, Mexico and undergraduate and graduate students from the United States, Mexico and Europe.

The project is supported by the National Science Foundation, Colorado State University, Michigan State University and receives training and professional support from many private companies and foundations.


Contact: Kimberly Sorensen
E-mail: Kimberly.Sorensen@colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-0757