Robin Beck

Robin Beck


  • Email:
  • Phone: 734.764.1240
  • Office: 3010 School of Education Building, 610 E. University Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1259
  • Ph.D. 2004, Northwestern University
  • CV

Research Interests


  • Complex societies
  • Colonial encounters
  • Social organization and change


  • Eastern North America
  • Andes (Bolivia and Peru)

Research Projects

Research Description

Rob Beck is an anthropological archaeologist interested in the development of complex societies in the Americas and in the social transformations that followed European contact. For his dissertation work, he excavated a Middle Formative (800-400 BC) ritual platform at the site of Alto Pukara, located in Bolivia's Lake Titicaca Basin at an altitude of 3800 m. His research at Alto Pukara used Lévi-Strauss' concept of the social house to understand changes in public space during the Formative Period. Since 2001, concurrent with his Andean work, Rob has co-directed the Exploring Joara Project, which focuses on the archaeology and early colonial history of Native American societies in the North Carolina Piedmont. Rob and his colleagues have directed NSF-supported research along the Catawba River at the Berry site, location of the native town of Joara and the Spanish garrison Fort San Juan, built by the Juan Pardo expedition in 1567. Manned by thirty soldiers for eighteen months, this fort is the earliest European settlement in the interior of what is now the United States. Its excavation is shedding new light on the process and practice of colonialism in the early American South.