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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Dr. J. Heath Anderson

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J. Heath Anderson

[PDF] Vita (144 KiB)


2009 PhD in Anthropology, The Pennsylvania State University
2003 MA in Anthropology, The Pennsylvania State University
1999 BA in Archaeology, Anthropology minor, Boston University


Dr. Anderson’s research interests focus on the impacts of preindustrial agriculture, settlement patterns, migration, and the collapse and regeneration of complex societies. His geographical specialization is Mesoamerica.

After beginning his career in the Maya area, Dr. Anderson’s dissertation research used an equation-based digital simulation of maize production to evaluate settlement patterns reconstructed in a GIS for the territory surrounding the capital of an Aztec tributary province in Central Mexico. His most recent activities focus on investigating the formation and collapse of the Toltec state at the site of Tula, also located in Central Mexico.

Dr. Anderson currently serves as Principal Investigator of the Tula Region Interaction and Migration Project (TRIMP), a long-term effort funded primarily through the National Science Foundation (NSF). The project is designed to address a suite of analytical questions involving local and regional economic interaction, migration, and political dynamics in the Tula region during the centuries after the decline of Mesoamerica’s earliest empire, centered on Teotihuacan in the Basin of Mexico. His team of collaborators includes Dr. Kathleen Blue, also of MSU, Mankato, as well as colleagues from two other institutions in the U.S. (Luther College and the University of Florida) and three Mexican institutions (the Instituto and Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia, also known as INAH and ENAH, and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, or UNAM), and the University of Tübingen in Germany.

Undergraduates interested in pursuing a Master’s degree at Mankato should contact Dr. Anderson for more information about the TRIMP. In addition to offering a wealth of data for use in thesis projects, the project also includes full funding for two graduate students over the course of two years, which includes tuition waiver and stipend. Spanish speakers (whether native or second-language) are especially encouraged to apply.

Dr. Anderson was honored as the speaker for the 2015 Douglas Moore Faculty Research Lecture, where he presented his research in a lecture entitled “Ashes to Empire: Cerro Magoni and the Toltec State.”

Follow Dr. Anderson on Twitter: @jheathanderson

Courses Taught at MNSU

  • ANTH 101 - Introduction to Anthropology
  • ANTH 102 - Ancient Peoples
  • ANTH 210 - Introduction to Archaeology
  • ANTH 300 - Introduction to Anthropological Methods
  • ANTH 4/512 - Archaeology of Latin America
  • ANTH 4/530 - People and Cultures of Latin America
  • ANTH 4/535 - Rise of Cities, States, and Nations
  • ANTH 4/585 - Quantitative Methods and Anthropological Problems