Matthew Sayre

Matthew Sayre

Chair, Anthropology & Sociology / Assistant Professor


East Hall 326

Phone: (605) 677-5402



I am an anthropologist and archaeologist who primarily works at the site of Chavin de Huantar in the Peruvian Andes. My work focuses on the ecological, agricultural, economic, and ritual practices of people in the Andes. Prior to coming to USD I was a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford from 2010-2011.

Teaching Interests:

Anthropology, pedagogy, increased access of underrepresented populations, interactive learning, and collaboration across departments. Teach for America alumnus, 1999-2001.

Research Interests:

Andean Archaeology, Historical Ecology, Sustainability, Agriculture, Ritual, and Food.


  • Ph D, Anthropology, University of California at Berkeley, 2010
  • MA, Anthropology, University of California at Berkeley, 2004
  • BA, Anthropology, University of Chicago, 1999


  • A&S Summer Faculty Research Fund, USD Arts and Science , (2014 - 2014)


  • REU Site: Sustainable RIVER (Remediating InVasives to Encourage Resilience), National Science Foundation. Grant Role: Supporting. (2016 - 2019)
  • Overturning Urban Myths in Peru's First Capital City: Huari Urban Prehistory Project, NSF. Grant Role: Supporting. (2016 - 2018)
  • Sustainable Rivers: Integrating Earth Science & Sustainability Across the Curriculum, National Science Foundation. Grant Role: Supporting. (2015 - 2016)
  • Employing Indigenous Knowledge to Advance Human Rights and Biocultural Heritage Security, Open Society Foundation. Grant Role: Co-Principal. (2015 - 2016)
  • Travel Grant, College of Arts and Science. (2015 - 2016)
  • Into the Field: Modern Methods in Archaeology, South Dakota Humanities Council. Grant Role: Principal. (2014 - 2014)
  • Diversity Curriculum Transformation Grant, Arts and Sciences. Grant Role: Principal. (2013 - 2013)
  • undergraduate research advisor, CURCA. Grant Role: Supporting. (2013 - 2013)
  • Travel Grant, Arts and Sciences. Grant Role: Principal. (2013 - 2013)
  • Travel Grant, Arts and Sciences. Grant Role: Principal. (2013 - 2013)
  • Paleoethnobotanical Research, Templeton Foundation. Grant Role: Supporting. (2012 - 2014)
  • TRACK to Success, Office of Sponsored Research and Programs. (2012 - 2012)
  • CURCA Research Grant, CURCA. Grant Role: Principal. (2012 - 2012)
  • Conservation Fellow, Global Heritage Fund. Grant Role: Principal. (2011 - 2012)
  • Arts and Sciences Travel Grant, Arts and Sciences. Grant Role: Principal. (2011 - 2012)
  • Digital Methods in Archaeology, Center for Teaching and Learning. Grant Role: Principal. (2011 - 2011)
  • Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant- Ecology, Ritual, and Agriculture at Chavín de Huántar, NSF. Grant Role: Co-Principal. (2005 - 2006)
  • Graduate Research Fellowship Summer Travel Grant, NSF. Grant Role: Principal. (2004 - 2004)
  • Graduate Research Fellowship, NSF. Grant Role: Co-Principal. (2003 - 2008)


Citations listed below are presented in a standardized, modified format for display purposes only. They do not necessarily reflect the preferred style and conventions of the faculty member or discipline.

  • Mayer, Aaron, Sayre, Matthew, and Jennings, Justin. Coming Together to Toast and Feed the Dead in the Cotahuasi Valley of Peru. Journal of Ethnobiology Letters, 2017.
  • Sayre, Matthew, and Whitehead, William. Ritual and plant use at Conchopata- an Andean Middle Horizon site. In Social Perspectives on Ancient Lives from Paleoethnobotanical Data, edited by Matthew Sayre and Maria Bruno. Springer Press, 2017.
  • Bruno, Maria, and Sayre, Matthew. Towards a Social Paleoethnobotany: An Introduction. In Social Perspectives on Environmental Archaeology, edited by Sayre, M. and Bruno, M.. Springer Press, 2017.
  • Sayre, Matthew, and Bruno, Maria. Social Perspectives on Ancient Lives from Paleoethnobotanical Data. Edited by Matthew Sayre and Maria Bruno. Springer Press, 2017. (DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-52849-6)
  • Rosenfeld, Silvana, and Sayre, Matthew. Llamas on the Land. Production and Consumption of Meat at Chavín de Huántar, Peru, 497-511. Vol. 27, Iss. 4. Latin American Antiquity, 2016. (DOI: 10.7183/1045-6635.27.4.497)
  • Sayre, Matthew. Digital Archaeology in the Rural Andes: Problems and Prospects. In Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future. North Dakota: Digital Press of the University of North Dakota, 2016.
  • Sayre, Matthew, Miller, Melanie, and Rosenfeld, Silvana. Isotopic Evidence for the Trade and Production of Exotic Marine Mammal Bone Artifacts at Chavi?n de Hua?ntar, Peru. Edited by E. Gliozzo; Y. Bassiakos; C. Tuniz; D.Q. Fuller; J. Burger; N.J. Conard; S. Shennan; C.E. Miller, 403-417. Vol. 8. Springer: Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 2016. (DOI: 10.1007/s12520-015-0230-y )
  • Sayre, Matthew, Cano, Asuncion, and Trinidad, Huber. Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Site Sustainability at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Chavín de Huántar, 47-55. Vol. 11. Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability: Annual Review, 2015.
  • Sayre, Matthew. Into the Field: Modern Methods in an Archaeology Field School. Vermillion, SD: South Dakota Public Broadcasting, 2015.
  • Sayre, Matthew. Ceremonial Plants in the Andean Region. In Crops and People: Choices and Diversity through Time, edited by A. Chevalier, E. Marinova, L. Pena-Chocarro, 368-373. Brussells: European Science Foundation/Early Agricultural Remnants and Technical Heritage Program, 2014.
  • Sayre, Matthew. Student-initiated Projects, the Flipped Classroom, and Crowdfunding. In Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Record, edited by Anna Prentiss, 14-18. Vol. 14, Iss. 1. Washington, D.C.: Society for American Archaeology, 2014.
  • Sayre, Matthew. Archaeology students have the experience of a lifetime at Peru dig. Peru this Week, 2013.
  • Sayre, Matthew. An Andean domesticate adapts to climate change, 25-31. Vol. 91. Proceedings of the South Dakota Academy of Science, 2012.
  • Sayre, Matthew. A Marked Preference: Chicha de molle and Huari State Consumption Practices. Edited by Jerry Moore, 231-258. Vol. 32, Iss. 2. Berkeley, CA: Nawpa Pacha/Left Coast Press, 2012. (DOI:
  • Cane, Rachel, Cuthrell, Rob, Sayre, Matthew, Soluri, Elizabeth, and Hastorf, Christine. The life of building 3 through plant use: The macrobotanical evidence of Neolithic dwelling from the Berkeley Archaeology at Catalhoyuk (BACH) excavation 1997-2003". In House Lives: Building, Inhabiting, Excavating a House at Catalhoyuk, Turkey: Reports from the BACH Area, Catalhoyuk, 1997-2003. Los Angeles, California: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, 2012.
  • Rick, John, Mesia, Christian, Rick, Rosa, Kembel, Silvia, Contreras, Daniel, Sayre, Matthew, and Wolf, John. La Cronología de Chavín de Huántar y sus implicancias para el Periodo Formativo. In Boletin de Arqueología. Vol. 12. Lima, Peru: Fondo Editorial Pontifica Universidad Catolica Peruana, 2011.
  • Sayre, Matthew, and Lopez Aldave, Natali. Exchange at Chavin de Huantar: insights from shell data, 340-345. Vol. 9. Andean Past, 2010.
  • Sayre, Matthew, and Lopez Aldave, Natali., 340-345. Vol. 9. Ithaca, NY: Andean Past, 2010.
  • Sayre, Matthew. Chronicling Indigenous Accounts of the Emergence of Agriculture in the Americas. In Rethinking Agriculture: Archaeological and Ethnoarchaeological Perspectives, edited by T. Denham, J. Iriarte, and L. Vrydaghs. Vol. One World Series. Tucson, AZ: Left Coast Press, 2007.
  • Sayre, Matthew. The Historicity of the 'Early Horizon'. In "Constructions of Time and History in the Pre-Columbian Andes, edited by Andrew Roddick and Edward Swenson. University of Colorado Press.
  • Sayre, Matthew. A Synonym for Sacred: Vilca use in the Pre-hispanic Andes. Edited by Scott Fitzpatrick. Gainseville, FL: University of Florida Press.

Awards and Honors:

  • Richard and Sharon Cutler Award in Liberal Arts, USD, 2016
  • Belbas-Larson Teaching Award Nominee, USD, 2015
  • Belbas-Larson Teaching Award Nominee, USD, 2014
  • Belbas-Larson Teaching Award Nominee, USD, 2013


  • Sayre, Matthew. Whalebones Brought to Mountain Tops: A Story of Research and Production at a 3,000 year Old Temple in the Andes.
  • Jarchow, Meghann, Sayre, Matthew, Nordyke, Shane, Formisano, Paul. Assessing student learning outcomes of sustainability. Presented at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education annual conference, Minneapolis, MN. (October 26, 2015)
  • Jarchow, Meghann, Sayre, Matthew, Nordyke, Shane, Formisano, Paul. Assessing student learning outcomes for sustainability: Curriculum mapping. Presented at the Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability biannual conference, Bemidji, MN. (June 18, 2015)
  • Sayre, Matthew. "Digital Archaeology in the Rural Andes: Problems and Prospects". Presented at the Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future: the Potential of Digital Archaeology, Wentworth University, Boston MA. (February 28, 2015)
  • Sayre, Matthew. Climate Change and Sustainability at the Unesco World Heritage Site of Chavin de Huantar, Peru. Presented at the Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.. (December 3, 2014)
  • Sayre, Matthew. Burnt Palms and Cultivated Corn: Macrobotanical and Phytolith Evidence from Chavin de Huantar. Presented at the Comparative Studies among the Formative Period Cultures in the Andes, Osaka, Japan. (November 28, 2014)
  • Sayre, Matthew. Sustainable Tourism at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Chavin de Huantar, Peru: Archaeology and Sustainable Heritage. Presented at the Tenth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability, Split, Croatia. (January 23, 2014)
  • Sayre, Matthew. Archaeobotany during the Formative Period (Peru). Presented at the Stanford Conference on the Formative Period (Peru), Stanford, CA. (January 12, 2014)
  • Sayre, Matthew. Domestic life and socioeconomic variability at Chavín. Presented at the Institute of Andean Studies . (January 11, 2014)
  • Sayre, Matthew. "Pilgrimage Across the Ancient Andes: From Machu Picchu to Chavin de Huantar". Presented at the Archaeological Institute of America Public Lecture Series, Lincoln, NE. (November 11, 2013)
  • Sayre, Matthew. From the Andes to the Plains: plant use across the ancient Americas. Presented at the South Dakota Archaeological Society, Vermillion, SD. (January 12, 2013)
  • Sayre, Matthew. Household versus ritual plant use at Conchopata: a Huari, Middle Horizon, center in Ayacucho, Peru. Presented at the Society for American Archaeology. (April 1, 2012)
  • Sayre, Matthew. Life at Chavin de Huantar, a 3000 year old temple in Peru. Presented at the Third Sunday Archaeology Talks, Augustana College, Sioux Falls SD. (February 19, 2012)