Dr. Grávalos is an anthropological archaeologist with research interests at the intersection of materiality, landscape, and craft production. Her work centers on the politics, sociality, and ontology of making and using ceramic and textile objects. She is interested in how artisans embody, share, and contest technological and landscape knowledge across generations and between communities. Dr. Grávalos's research is based in northern Peru, where her ongoing investigation into 'political geologies' considers how geologic resources are culturally made and valued, and how categorizations and use of these geomaterials foment political dynamics among pre-Hispanic and present-day Andean communities.

Since 2014, Dr. Grávalos has applied material science methods to the analysis of archaeological materials, including ceramic, glass, and stone. She specializes in laser ablation – inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) and thin section petrography.

For more than a decade, Dr. Grávalos has directed and collaborated on several long-term, community-based archaeological fieldwork programs in Peru. The majority of this work takes place in the Ancash Department:

-Between 2017-2018, Dr. Grávalos co-directed the Proyecto de Investigación Arqueológica de Jecosh (PIAJ; Jecosh Archaeological Research Project) at the highland site of Jecosh with colleagues Lic. Denisse Herrera Rondan and Dr. Emily A. Sharp. Learn more about this collaborative project with the descendant community of Jecosh/Poccrac here:
-Since 2011, Dr. Grávalos has collaborated with the community-based, interdisciplinary research program of PIARA (, focused primarily at the highland site of Hualcayán, where her work as a PI examines textiles and ceramics.

Dr. Grávalos's research has been funded by the National Science Foundation (DDRI-Archaeology), the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Rust Family Foundation, the American Museum of Natural History, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, the Field Museum of Natural History, the University of Illinois-Chicago, and Stanford University.

Honors & Awards

  • Workshop Grant for “Political Geologies Past and Present: Ontology, Knowledge, and Affect”, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (2023)
  • Junior Fellowship in Pre-Columbian Studies, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection (2020-2021)
  • Dissertation Fellowship (Honorable Mention), Ford Foundation (2020)
  • Women-in-Science Graduate Fellowship, Field Museum of Natural History (2019-2020)
  • Doctoral Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (2018)
  • Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Award (#1830719), National Science Foundation (2018)
  • Archaeology Research Grant, Rust Family Foundation (2017)
  • Field Dreams Program Award, Field Museum Women's Board (2017)
  • Collections Study Grant, American Museum of Natural History (2016)

Professional Education

  • Bachelor of Arts, Depaul University (2011)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Illinois Chicago (2021)
  • Master of Science, Purdue University (2014)

Stanford Advisors

2023-24 Courses

All Publications

  • Wari across the Andes: Modeling the radiocarbon evidence Quaternary International Williams, P. R., Reid, D. A., Grávalos, M. E., Marsh, E., Bélisle, V., Conlee, C. A., Kerchusky, S., McEwan, G. 2024
  • Examining the Nasca religious network on the south coast of Peru: LA-ICP-MS of Early Nasca ceramics from the Upper Ica Valley (AD 250-450) JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE-REPORTS Gorman, A., Gravalos, M., Vaughn, K. J. 2023; 49
  • Inka and Local ceramic production and distribution networks: A view from the Chinchaysuyo and Colesuyo JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE-REPORTS Chacaltana-Cortez, S., Marroquin, E., Garavito, C., Norman, S. M., Gravalos, M. 2023; 48
  • Crafting cosmopolitanism: Ceramic production and exchange during Wari imperialism (600–1000 CE) Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports Grávalos, M. E., et al 2023; 50
  • An examination of Recuay kaolin pottery production and exchange through petrography and LA-ICP-MS (100-700 CE; Ancash, Peru) ARCHAEOMETRY Gravalos, M., Bria, R. E., Lau, G. F. 2022; 64 (6): 1340-1358

    View details for DOI 10.1111/arcm.12782

    View details for Web of Science ID 000791611900001

  • Memory Work and Place-Making over the Longue Duree at Jecosh, Peru (340 b.c.-a.d. 1630) JOURNAL OF FIELD ARCHAEOLOGY Gravalos, M., Sharp, E. A. 2022; 47 (3): 175-195
  • Changing to remain the same: everyday animal use at ancient Jecosh, north-central Peru WORLD ARCHAEOLOGY Tomczyk, W., Gravalos, M. 2022
  • Prehispanic Highland Textile Technologies: A View from the First Millennium AD at Hualcayan, Ancash, Peru LATIN AMERICAN ANTIQUITY Gravalos, M., Bria, R. E. 2021; 32 (4): 781-799