RESEARCH

My research interests are diverse and include: Mesoamerican archaeology and art history; complex societies; archaeology of communities; ancient architectural design and history; architectural construction processes; ancient artistic practice; virtual architectural reconstruction; virtual reality in archaeology & 3D visualization (see www.heritagejam.org for a great project incorporating ideas about paradata from my Master’s Thesis); community outreach and public archaeology

IN THE FIELD

My archaeological field research is centered at the ancient Maya site of Xunantunich, Belize (see map). The image below shows an upper portion of the largest building at Xunantunich, known as El Castillo. In its original state, El Castillo featured a monumental stucco frieze decorating its roof. Portions of this frieze survive and are preserved today. El Castillo functioned as a palatial and ritual complex for ancient Maya royalty and/or elites over approximately 1500 years of occupation. My dissertation research concentrates on El Castillo’s construction history, construction techniques used over this history, and most importantly the laborers involved along the way! The picture at the top of the page shows Los Succotzenos, mis amigos, who make this research possible!

Most recently, we have made an exciting discovery of the largest corpus of ancient Maya “graffiti” (or designs incised in plaster surfaces) ever encountered in Belize! Notably, this “graffiti” was created during the Late Classic period of occupation at Xunantunich, not by later squatters. We think that it served as an artistic practice and training activity associated with stone carving and/or ceramic production. Check out the example of a head in profile on the left!

I am a staff member of the Mopan Valley Preclassic Project (MVPP), directed by Dr. M. Kathryn Brown of UTSA. Previously, I have served as Field Director, Project Illustrator, Operation Director, and Sub-operation Director. I am also affiliated with the Mopan Valley Archaeological Project (MVAP) directed by Dr. Jason Yaeger. I am a Research Associate with the UTSA Department of Anthropology as a component of my contributions to MVPP/MVAP.

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Digging in the shadow of ancient Maya monumental art.

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A Black Howler Monkey watching us dig!

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