Smithsonian Journeys Experts

Sarah Baitzel

photo of Sarah  Baitzel

Sarah Baitzel is an archaeologist investigating the ritual and social lives of prehispanic Andean peoples. She received her PhD in 2016 from the University of California San Diego and is currently holds a position in the Department of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research and teaching encompass anthropological archaeology, the archaeology of death and bioarchaeology, complex societies, and Andean South America.

Sarah currently directs two research projects that involve the study of pastoralists (llama/alpaca herders) on the hyperarid coast of southern Peru (Tacna) and near the high-altitude lakes of Cusco (ca. 1000-1400 AD) - two starkly different environments that require distinct cultural adaptations.  Sarah has published numerous articles in scientific journals throughout the Americas, with a particular focus on Andean textiles, burial rituals, and childhood and social life. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Fulbright-Hays and the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, among others.