I am an anthropological archaeologist and have conducted research in Belize, Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala. My research interests include the political organization of the Prehispanic Maya, archaeology of complex societies, landscape archaeology and remote sensing, and the modern social contexts of archaeology in Latin America.
I am committed to the notion of archaeology as a broadly anthropological discipline that should draw insights from throughout the social sciences, humanities and the physical sciences. I am also dedicated to the public education and public interest roles that archaeologists increasingly play in the countries where we conduct our research.
From 2003 to 2010 I directed the Sierra del Lacandón Regional Archaeology Project with colleagues from the United States and Guatemala. Our bi-national effort brought together archaeologists, biological anthropologists, faunal experts, soils researchers, and other scholars to model the development of ancient Maya kingdoms from the perspective of the borderlands between dynastic capitals. Our regional focus was on the hinterland settlements that dot the landscape between Piedras Negras, Guatemala and Yaxchilan, Mexico, two dynastic centers that competed for control of the region from about AD 350 to 810. This project is the first systematic regional archaeological survey in the middle Usumacinta River Basin. In particular, my colleagues and I seek to understand the development of political, social, and economic boundaries along the border zone between the capital centers of Piedras Negras and Yaxchilan, an area that today constitutes part of Guatemala’s modern border with Mexico. This long-term study of ancient borderlands yielded new insights into the nature of territoriality, political identity, cultural differences, and divergent political trajectories in neighboring Maya kingdoms.
In 2010, Andrew Scherer (Brown University) and I began the Proyecto Arqueologico Busilja-Chocolja, which expands upon that previous research in Guatemala through a regional study of the landscape surrounding the archeological site of La Mar, in Chiapas, Mexico. While our previous research focused on the borderlands between two kingdoms, the area around La Mar is known from ancient inscriptions to have been at the intersection of at least four (and perhaps more) kingdoms. The complex histories of warfare and alliance in the inscriptions of La Mar and neighboring centers hint at the complexity of local identity and the cultural, economic, and political impacts that we plan to explore in upcoming seasons of field and laboratory research.
University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D.
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, B.A.
|ANTH||115b||Borderlands: Space, Place, and Landscape|
|ANTH||119a||Conquests, Resistance, and Cultural Transformation in Mexico and Central America|
|ANTH||123a||Archaeology in Theory and Practice|
|ANTH||136a||Archaeology of Power: Authority, Prestige, and Inequality in the Past|
|ANTH||168a||The Maya: Past, Present and Future|
|ANTH||187a||Materials Research in Archaeology, I|
|ANTH||188b||Materials Research in Archaeology, II|