Deborah L. Nichols

Academic Appointments

Professor of Anthropology
William J. Bryant 1925 Professorship
Ecology, Evolution, Ecosystems, and Society Grad Program
Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies

I am interested in understanding why human societies become more complex. As an archaeological anthropologist, my research examines the political economy and ecology of the prehispanic Americas with a focus on the development of agriculture, urbanization and state formation. My research applies a regional approach to landscape archaeology, and geochemical source analysess to understand interrelations between ancient economies, ecologies, and politics with particular attention to Central Mexico and the Southwest.

603-646-3033
403 Silsby Hall, Anthropology Department
HB 6047
Department(s): 
Anthropology
Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies
Center(s): 
The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding
Education: 
Ph.D, 1980 Pennsylvania State University
M.A., 1975 Pennsylvania State University
B.A., 1973 Pennsylvania State University

Selected Publications

Nichols, Deborah L. 2020. City, State, and Hinterlands: Teotihuacan and Central Mexico. In Teotihuacan: The World Beyond the City, edited by Kenneth G. Hirth, David M. Carballo, and Bárbara Arroyo, pp. 227-276. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections, Washington D.C.

Nichols, Deborah L., and Wesley D. Stoner. 2019.  Before Teotihuacan: Altica and the Origins of Complex Society in the Teotihuacan Valley. Ancient Mesoamerica 30:369–382.

Stoner, Wesley D., and Deborah L. Nichols. 2019. The Altica Project: Reframing the Formative Basin of Mexico. Ancient Mesoamerica 30:247–265.

Stoner, Wesley D., and Deborah L. Nichols. 2019. Early Ceramics, Compositional Variation, and Trade in Formative Period Central Mexico. Ancient Mesoamerica 30:311–337.

Nichols, Deborah L. 2018. Aztec and pre-Aztec Agricultural Practices and Environmental Impacts in Central Mexico. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science, edited by Peter Boguckli. Oxford University Press, New York. http://environmentalscience.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/978019938...

Nichols, Deborah L. and Enrique Rodríguez-Alegría, eds. 2017. Oxford Handbook of the Aztecs. Oxford University Press, New York

Nichols, Deborah L. Frances F. Berdan, and Michael E. Smith, eds. 2017. Rethinking the Aztec Economy. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Nichols, Deborah L. 2017  Farm to Market in the Aztec Empire. In Rethinking the Aztec Economy, edited by Deborah L. Nichols, Frances F. Berdan, and Michael E. Smit, pp. 19–43. University of Arizona Press, Tucson

Hirth, Kenneth G., Michael E. Smith, Frances F. Berdan, and Deborah L. Nichols. 2017  Objects, Economy, and Empire: Scale, Integration, and Change. In Rethinking the Aztec Economy, edited by Deborah L. Nichols, Frances F. Berdan, and Michael E. Smith, pp. 278–292. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Berdan, Frances F., Kenneth G. Hirth, Deborah L. Nichols, and Michael E. Smith. 2017  Aztec Economy and Empire Through the Lens of Objects. In Rethinking the Aztec Economy, edited by Deborah L. Nichols, Frances F. Berdan, and Michael E. Smith, pp. 3–18. University of Arizona Press, Tucson 

Nichols, Deborah L. 2016. Teotihuacan. Journal of Archaeological Research. 24:1–74.

Nichols, Deborah L. 2016. Rethinking “Huitzilopochtil’s Conquest:” Elizabeth M. Burmfiel, Social Theory, and the Aztecs of Mexico. Ancient Mesoamerica 27: 153–162.

Nichols, Deborah L. 2015. Intensive Agriculture and the Development of Early Complex Societies in the Basin of Mexico. Ancient Mesoamerica 26: 407–421

Stoner, Wesley D., Deborah L. Nichols, Bridget Alex, and Destiny L. Crider. 2015. The Emergence of Early-Middle Formative Exchange Patters in Mexico: A View from Altica in the Teotihuacan Valley. Journal of Anthropogical Archaeology 39:19–35.

Nichols, Deborah L. Frances F. Berdan, and Michael E. Smith, eds. 2017. Rethinking the Aztec Economy. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Nichols, Deborah L., Hector Neff, and George L. Cowgill. 2013. Cerro Portezuelo: State Formation and Hinterlands in the Prehispanic Basin of Mexico.  Ancient Mesoamerica 24:47-71.

Evans, Susan T. and Deborah L. Nichols. 2015. Civil Engineering and Ceremonial Space at Teotihuacan, Mexico.  In Human Adaptation in Ancient Mesoamerica: Empirical Approaches to Mesoamerican Archaeology, edited by Nancy Gonlin and Kirk D. French, pp. 25–52. University Press of Colorado, Boulder.

Nichols, Deborah L., and Christopher A. Pool, editors. 2012. Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology.  Oxford University Press, New York.

Crider, Destiny, Deborah L. Nichols, Christopher P. Garraty. 2018. A Geospatial Approach to the Development of Postclassic Markets: Ceramic Production and Exchange from the Epiclassic through Late Postclassic in the Basin of Mexico. In City, Craft and Residence in Mesoamerica: Research Papers Presented in Honor of Dan Healan, edited by Ronald K. Faulseit, Nezahualcoyotl Xiutecutli, and Haley Holt-Mehta, pp. 85–112. Middle American Research Institute Papers, Tulane University, New Orleans.

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Works in progress

Nichols, Deborah L. n.d. Evolution of a Revolution. In The Legacies of the Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization, edited by Carolos Cordova, Christopher Morehart, and Charles D. Frederick. University Press of Colorado.

Wesley D. Stoner, and Deborah L. Nichols. Under Review. Shifting Styles in the Formative Basin of Mexico. In Emergent Social Complexity in Mesoamerica, edited by Lisa DeLance and Gary M. Feinman, University Press of Colorado, Boulder.

Stoner, Wesley D., and Deborah L. Nichols. In press. Early and Middle Formative Interactions and Central Mexico. In Oxford Handbook of the Olmec, edited by Christopher Pool and Carl Wendt. Oxford University Press, New York.

Selected works and activities

2020-21. Society for American Archaeology, President-Elect.

2019-22. American Anthropological Association-Archaeology Division, Publications Director.

Nichols, Deborah L. Principal Investigator. 2019-21. Expansion of the Arizona State University Teotihuacan Storage Facility National Science Foundation. NSF No. BCS 1917497.

Nichols, Deborah L. and Wesley Stoner. Collaborative Research: Craft Specialization, Exchange, and the Development of Early Complex Societies in Central Mexico.  Principal Investigators: Deborah L. Nichols (Dartmouth College) and Wesley Stoner, NSF No. 1424132-Nichols (Dartmouth) and Wesley Stoner NSF No. 1424132-Nichols (Dartmouth), NSF No. 424184-Stoner (University of Arkansas).  (2014)