Douglas Smit

Senior Fellow

430 University Museum


I am an anthropological archaeologist interested in the political economy of colonialism, specifically the emergence and consequences of markets that develop around labor during imperial resource extraction. Since 2013, I have co-directed Proyecto de Investigación Histórico Arqueológico-Santa Bárbara, a joint Peruvian-North American research program that examines the mercury mines of Santa Barbára. Using archaeology, archival research, and oral histories, my current research investigates the everyday lives of past miners, as well as engages with the contemporary indigenous community to illuminate how the legacy of the mine continues into the 21st century.


University of Illinois at Chicago PhD 2018; University of Illinois at Chicago MA 2012; The George Washington University BA 2008.

Research Interests

Political Economy, Historical Anthropology, Colonialism, Markets, Capitalism, Informal and Illegal Economies, Labor, Mining, Ceramic Analysis, Compositional Analysis, The Andes

Selected Publications

2017 Smit, Douglas K. and Terren Proctor. “An Incurable Evil’: Direct and Structural Violence in the Mercury Mines of Colonial Huancavelica (1564-1824 AD).” To be published in an edited volume entitled Archaeologies of Violence and Privilege by the University of New Mexico Press.

2017 Bauer, Brian S., Douglas K. Smit and Miriam Araoz Silva. "Mitos Inca, Leyendas Inca, y la Evidencia Arqueológica para el Desarrollo del Estado en la Región del Cuzco." To be published in a multi-volume edition on Peruvian Archaeology by the Ministry of Culture and the National Museum of Archaeology: Peru. In press.

2017 Bauer, Brian S., Douglas K. Smit, Antonio Coello Rodríguez.“El Camino de Huancavelia hasta Potosi”. In Nuevas tendencias en el estudio de los caminos. ed. Sofia Chacaltana, Elizabeth Arkush, and Giancarlo Marcone, Ministerio de Cultura: Qhapaq Nan - Sede Nacional, Lima, 2017.

2015 Bauer, Brian S. and Douglas K. Smit. Separating the Wheat from the Chaff, Inca Myths, Inca Legends, and the Archaeological Evidence for State Development. In The Inka Empire: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Edited by Izumi Shimada. University of Texas Press, Austin. Pp. 67-80

2014 Coello Rodríguez, Antonio, Douglas K. Smit and Brian S. Bauer. Un caso de arqueología histórica en Huancavelica: Los hornos coloniales de mercurio. Arkinka Issue 226, September. Pp. 43-61.

2014 Galiano Blanco, Jesus, Brian S. Bauer, Douglas K. Smit, and Antonio Coello Rodríguez. La minería y el comercio en Huancavelica Perú (Siglo XVI) Imprenta Librería, Huancavelica, Peru.

2012 Smit, Douglas K., and Brian S. Bauer. The Origin of the Inca State: Separating Myths and Legends from the Archaeological Evidence. In Diversity and Unity in the Inka Empire: Current Visions and Issues. Edited by Izumi Shimada. Tokai University Press, Tokyo.



Faculty Status