M. Dores Cruz

Anthropology, Denver
Fellowship: 15.10.16–15.07.17



  • Ph.D., Binghamton University; 2003
  • MA University of Porto (Portugal) 
  • BA University of Coimbra (Portugal)


  • Researcher, Interdisciplinary Center for Evolution of Human Behavior, University of Algarve (Current)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Denver (Current) 
  • Senior Lecturer, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Pretoria (2004-6)

Grants and Fellowships:

  • DU Internationalization Grants
  • Colorado State Historical Fund Research Grants
  • DU Research Grant
  • Visiting Scholar, University of Leicester (UK)
  • Archaeology of Portugal (Archaeological Institute of America)
  • Gulbenkian Foundation  Fellowships
  • Fulbright-IIE Fellowship


Fields of Research

  • Historical Anthropology
  • African Studies
  • Landscape Anthropology
  • Social construction of Memory
  • Heritage
  • Portuguese colonialism
  • Mozambique
  • Ethnoarchaeology 


Project outline

»Terra de Heróis:«* a landscape biography of Manjacaze (Mozambique)

[*Land/Country of heroes]


Manjacaze plays a central role in the social memory of Mozambique. It was the last capital of the Gaza-Nguni empire; the locale of the Nguni defeat against the Portuguese colonial armies; it was also a site of resistance, the birth place of Eduardo Mondlane, the national hero of the liberation struggle. But local elders present alternative narratives that focus on local royal families’ resistance to the Nguni invasion, participating in the memorialization of ancestors through their association with archaeological sites and sacred trees. My project explores how local populations, colonial and post-colonial political elites have understood Manjacaze’s landscapes. It weaves individual life-cycles and historical protagonists with long-term histories, intertwining questions of personhood, places and material artifacts, presenting a textured picture of the region. Manjacaze can be understood to have a biography and such approach is significant because it stresses the multivariate agencies and temporalities that over two hundred years co-produced these landscapes, taking »shape« in different rhythms, layers and memories. I take a multidisciplinary, integrative approach drawing upon archaeology, ethnography, history, memory and landscape studies to understand cultural and social values of places, sites, and monuments, their appropriation, representation and meaning in distinct cultural contexts. 


Publications (Selection)

  • Hegemonic culture in Mozambique: the case of the Museum of Revolution, Maputo (in prep.).
  • Gendered Taskscapes: Food, Farming, and Craft Production in Banda, Ghana in the 18th-21st centuries (W/ Amanda Logan), 2014. 
  • The nature of culture: sites, ancestors and trees in the archaeology of Southern Mozambique, 2014.
  • Pots are pots, not people: material culture and ethnic identity in the Banda area (Ghana), 19th and 20th centuries, 2011. 
  • »Portugal Gigante«: Nationalism, Motherland and Colonial Encounters in Portuguese School Textbooks, 2009. 
  • Ceramic Production, Consumption and Exchange in the Banda Area (Ghana), with Ann Stahl, 2007; Normas de Inventário de Cerâmicas Arqueológicas. Book, 2007.