Anthropology student awarded funding to research caves in the Yucatan
Anthropology doctoral student Donald Slater has been awarded a $3,000 Mellon Dissertation Research grant and a $2,000 Sachar award for research abroad to develop his dissertation "At the Heart of the Turtle: Caves and Power in Ancient Central Yucatan, Mexico."
Slater's research will be carried out in the cave-rich Yaxcaba municipal region of the Yucatan. The Central Yucatan Archaeological Cave Project, which Slater developed and directs, will investigate ancient Maya cave ritual as an anthropological case.
In addition to filling a geographical void in cave scholarship by conducting the first cave survey in Central Yucatan, the project aims to fill gaps in contemporary landscape scholarship. Despite the countless caves which exist in the karst limestone terrain of the region, no archaeological cave research had been conducted there prior to the Slater project's work in 2009.
At the close of the project's field season in August 2011, all artifacts collected from caves will be sent to specialists in Mexico for general analysis, in accordance with Mexican law requiring that virtually all ancient material collected during fieldwork must remain in the country.