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.


Silsby, Room 403
HB 6047




The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding


  • 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.

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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 & Activities

  • 2021-23. Society for American Archaeology, President-Elect.

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

  • Nichols, Deborah L. Principal Investigator. 2019-22. 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)