DegreesBrandeis University, M.A.
University of New Hampshire, B.A.
ExpertiseAncient cultures of Mesoamerica
Religion and ideology
Also interested in the archaeology of Colonial New England, and the Precolumbian civilizations of Peru and the American Southwest.
ProfileDonald Slater is a Ph.D. candidate studying anthropology and archaeology at Brandeis University. He plans to graduate this May. He holds a master’s degree from Brandeis and a bachelor’s degree from UNH, both in anthropology. Since 2002 he has also served on the staff at the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology at Phillips Academy, Andover. His primary research interests focus on religion, cosmology, and iconography of the ancient Maya and other Mesoamerican cultures, but other interests include Paleoindian, Southwestern, Andean, and Colonial New England studies. For his dissertation research he developed and directs the Central Yucatan Archaeological Cave Project (CYAC). One of the largest cave surveys ever undertaken in Mesoamerica, CYAC aims to study ancient socio-political and religious power associated with elite cave ritual among the ancient Maya. Through Phillips Academy he also co-designed and leads the BALAM Project (Bilingual Archaeological Learning Adventure in Mesoamerica) and the Andean HUACA Project (Human Understanding through Archaeology and Cultural Awareness) which are expeditionary programs that guide high school-aged students on explorations of ruins, caves and modern settlements in Mesoamerica and Peru, respectively. Slater is a life-long resident of New England. His wife, two daughters, and he currently reside in an antique farmhouse in southern New Hampshire.
Awards and Honors
Dumbarton Oaks Short-Term Pre-Doctoral Residency (2013)
Mellon Foundation Dissertation Research Grant, Brandeis University GSAS (2012)
Mellon Foundation Dissertation Year Fellowship (2012)
Phillips Academy Andover, Abbot Academy Association Grant (2012)
Explorers Club Exploration Fund Grant (2011)
Mellon Foundation Dissertation Research Grant, Brandeis University GSAS (2011)
Named a National Geographic Explorer (2011)
National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (2011)
Brandeis University Anthropology Department Outstanding Teaching Fellow Award (2010)
Cave Research Foundation Graduate Research Grant (2010)
Cleveland Grotto of the National Speleological Society Science Fund (2010)
Brandeis University Anthropology Department Robert A. Manners Prize (2009)
National Geographic Society/Waitt Institute for Discovery Grant (2009)
Slater, Donald Adam, and Nathan D. Hamilton. "In the Footsteps of the Founders: Current Research at the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology." Rising from the Ashes: Glory, Trouble, and Renaissance at the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology, Proceedings of the Society for American Archaeology 76th Annual Meeting, Sacramento, California 2011. Ed. Malinda S. Blustain and Ryan Wheeler. TBD, 2014 (forthcoming)
Slater, Donald Adam. "Linking Cave, Mountain, and Sky: A Subterranean Observation Point for the Sunrise on the Day of Solar Zenith Transit in Yucatan, Mexico." Currently under review (2014). (forthcoming)
Slater, Donald Adam. "A New Look at Old Faces in Maya Caves." 79th Annual Society for American Archaeology Meeting, Austin, TX. April 2014. (forthcoming)
National Geographic. Ancient Maya Cave Exploration. <http://www.nationalgeographic.com/explorers/ancient-maya-cave-exploration-photos>.
Slater, Donald Adam. "To the Four Corners: Fragmentation, Scattering, and Termination in the Caves of Ancient Central Yucatan, Mexico." 78th Annual Society for American Archaeology Meeting, Honolulu, HI. April 2013.
Maya "Underworld" Observatory Revealed. National Geographic News. 2012.
Hutson, Scott R., Aline Magnoni, Travis Stanton, Donald A. Slater, and Scott Johnson. "Memory and Power at Joya, Yucatan." Power and Identity in Archaeological Theory and Practice: Case Studies from Ancient Mesoamerica. Ed. Eleanor Harrison-Buck. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2012. 39-52.
Slater, Donald Adam. "Into the Earth: Exploring Maya Ceremonial Caves in Yucatan." Explorers Journal 90. 4 (2012): 22-27.
Slater, Donald Adam. "Power Materialized: The Dart-Thrower as a Pan-Mesoamerican Status Marker." Ancient Mesoamerica 22. 2 (2011): 371-388.