Barbara Arroyo is the coordinator for the Kaminaljuyu Archaeological Zone at the Dirección General de Patrimonio Cultural y Natural in Guatemala. She has an active project at the site of Kaminaljuyu were she trains students in fieldwork and laboratory analysis. She has been responsible for the research and revitalization of this important Mesoamerican site. She has carried out research on the Pacific Coast and Maya highlands during the last 20 years including sites in Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Her research interest focuses on the origins of sedentary villages, ceramics, social complexity, and monumental sculpture. She is Editor in chief for the Proceedings of the Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, an annual publication for the Maya area, as well as head organizer of this longstanding and important meeting for Maya and Mesoamerica studies.
Barbara received her Licenciatura in Archaeology in 1987 and obtained a Ph.D. in Anthropology at Vanderbilt University in 1994. She carried out a Postdoctoral Research program under Dr. Hector Neff at the Missouri Research Reactor of the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1997-1999.
Luke Auld-Thomas is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology at Tulane University. He has conducted fieldwork in Guatemala and Belize and is currently conducting dissertation research at the site of El Achiotal, Guatemala, as part of the La Corona Regional Archaeological Project.
M. Kathryn Brown
M. Kathryn Brown is an associate professor in anthropology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She holds the Lutcher Brown Endowed Professorship of Anthropology and was named a University of Texas System Regents Outstanding Teacher. Her research focuses on the rise of complexity in the Maya lowlands and role of ritual and ceremonial architecture in the Preclassic period. She is currently the director of the Mopan Valley Preclassic Project and co-director of the Mopan Valley Archaeological Project. She has focused her recent investigations at the site of Xunantunich, Belize. She is the co-editor of Ancient Mesoamerican Warfare and has several recent publications that have appeared in Mexicon, Advances in Archaeological Practices, and Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology.
Arlen F. Chase (Ph.D. 1983, University of Pennsylvania) joined the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in August 2016 as a Professor in the Department of Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts. For the previous 32 years of his career, he was at the University of Central Florida where he last served as an Associate Dean in the College of Sciences and as a Pegasus Professor in Anthropology. His research interests focus on archaeological method and theory in the Maya area with particular emphasis on contextual, settlement, and ceramic analysis and secondary interests on urbanism, ethnicity, and epigraphic interpretation. For 33 years he has co-directed annual excavations at Caracol, Belize; before that he worked on a seven-year project at Santa Rita Corozal, Belize. He has also carried out fieldwork in the countries of Guatemala and Mexico as well as in Arizona and Pennsylvania in the United States. He has authored over 150 articles and book chapters as well as The Lowland Maya Postclassic (1985; edited with P.M. Rice), Investigations at the Classic Maya City of Caracol, Belize (1987; with D.Z. Chase), A Postclassic Perspective (1988; with D.Z. Chase), Mesoamerican Elites: An Archaeological Assessment (1992, 1994, 2003; edited with D.Z. Chase), Studies in the Archaeology of Caracol, Belize (1994; edited with D.Z. Chase), The Resilience and Vulnerability of Ancient Landscapes (2014; edited with V. Scarborough), Maya E Groups: Calendars, Astronomy, and Urbanism in the Maya Lowlands (2017; edited with D. Freidel, A. Dowd, and J. Murdock), and Maya Archaeology: Reconstructing an Ancient Civilization (projected for 2018; with D.Z. Chase). PDFs of his writings may be found at
David Chatelain is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Tulane University, and he received his M.A. in Anthropology from Tulane University in 2012. His interests include Maya archaeology as well as epigraphy and linguistics. He has worked as an archaeologist for ten years, conducting research in Guatemala, Belize, the southeastern United States, and Peru. He is currently completing his dissertation research at the site of La Cariba, Guatemala, looking at the integration of minor centers into broader political systems from the Preclassic to the Classic. He also works as the Outreach Coordinator for the Middle American Research Institute.
Kaitlin is a New World archaeologist, attending New York University for her Master’s degree in an interdisciplinary program. Kaitlin earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Kennesaw State University in 2011. She studies the Maya in Belize, Central America and specializes in zooarchaeology. Her research focuses on the development of complex societies and craft specialization.
Arthur Demarest is Ingram Professor of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University and Director of the Vanderbilt Institute of Mesoamerican Archaeology and Development. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. at Harvard University and in 1981 was elected to Harvard’s Distinguished Society of Fellows. Professor Demarest has directed over 30 seasons of archaeological excavations in Central America and has authored far too many books, monographs and articles. He is an authority on the comparative study of complex societies, the ancient Maya, Angkor, Olmec, Aztec, and Inca civilizations, as well as the role of religion in ancient states and empires. He also teaches the philosophy of ethics and directs development, education, and indigenous empowerment projects in Guatemala in collaboration with Q’eqchi’ Maya communities. He has won recognition for those humanitarian efforts from the WCO, World Bank, the Finnish, Swedish, and Brazilian governments, and was awarded the Orden Nacional by the Presidency of Guatemala. In 2004 the Maya communities of the Upper Pasion region of Guatemala held a two-day Maya Hac ritual and sacrificed a bull in his honor.
Most important here, Dr. Demarest is a native ninth-ward New Orleanian Cajun/Yat and alumni of Tulane University where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with the Deans Medal and was the 2003 Tulane Distinguished Alumni Speaker (at which point the word “distinguished” was removed from the Oxford English dictionary). He is a member of The National Chili Pepper Society and a formally trained and licensed bartender.
Jim Dugan completed his Ph.D. in Anthropology at Tulane University in 2014. His fieldwork included collection and grammatical analysis of oral literature in Ch'orti' Maya. He currently supports Online Learning systems at Loyola University and teaches there and at Tulane University.
Francisco Estrada-Belli is a research assistant professor in the Anthropology Department and with Tulane University’s Middle American Research Institute. His research focuses on the emergence of complexity in the Maya region. He is author of The First Maya Civilization: Ritual and Power before the Classic period. (Routledge 2011). Most recently, he and his collaborators have published studies on long-term human-environment interaction and on the rise of regional states in the Late Classic period. He directs the Holmul Archaeological Project and is co-founder of the Maya Archaeology Initiative, a non-profit that supports heritage education in Guatemala.
As an archaeologist, Mélanie Forné worked on Maya ceramics in Guatemala for almost 15 years. She has been part of various international teams working on ancient Maya cities like La Joyanca, Zapote Bobal, Uaxactun, Cancuén and Naachtun. She also has been a CEMCA investigator (the French Research Center in Social Science for Central America). In her archaeological practice, she has always been concerned about sharing scientific information with the larger public, deploring that most of scientific results remain inside a (too much) restricted academic circle.
That is how Ixtz’unun was born: as a mean to share scientific knowledge with the larger public. The goal of the comic (26 episodes) was to explain how the ancient Maya lived, using the most recent investigation results in Maya archaeology. The “Ixtz’unun” comic series was published in the newspaper Prensa Libre in Guatemala (in 2011, then 2013 for the second series), and in Honduras (La Prensa) in 2012.
After the Ixtz’unun experience, Mélanie Forné published the “Popol Wuj” stories in Prensa Libre, an 8-chapters series relating some stories from Maya mythology (2015).
Now Mélanie Forné has left archaeology and investigation. She lives in France, starting a new career as an illustrator and web designer.
You can read the first 16 episodes of Ixtz'unun here: http://ixtzunun.blogspot.fr/. You can see more of Mélanie Forné's work here: http://melanieforne.com.
Dr. Thomas Garrison is an Assistant Professor (Teaching) in Anthropology and Spatial Sciences at the University of Southern California. He has been active in Maya archaeology for almost two decades and has spent his career focusing on the application of remote sensing technologies to archaeological research. He has collaborated with the Marshall Space and Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Lab, and National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping in his search to use new tools to reveal Maya settlement. Since 2012, he has directed the Proyecto Arqueológico El Zotz in Guatemala.
Charles Golden is an anthropological archaeologist and has conducted research in Belize, Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala. Since 2003 he has co-directed regional archaeological survey and excavations in the Usumacinta River Valley, which forms much of the modern border between Mexico and Guatemala, seeking a better understanding of the ancient borderlands between Precolumbian Maya kingdoms. His research interests include the political organization of the ancient Maya, landscape archaeology and remote sensing, and the modern social contexts of archaeology in Latin America.
Eleanor Harrison-Buck is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of New Hampshire. She received both her M.A. (2001) and Ph.D. (2007) in Archaeological Studies from Boston University, with a specialization in Maya archaeology. Her research interests include social identity and power, nonhuman agency, divine kingship and religious ideology, and technical and stylistic studies of architecture and material culture.
Since 2009 she has directed the Belize River East Archaeology (BREA) project in Belize, examining the deep history of the eastern Belize Watershed from Preclassic to Colonial times. Much of her current work is focused on one of the more profound periods of cultural transformation in Maya history, often referred to as the “collapse” period or Late-to- Terminal Classic transition (AD 760-900/950)—a poorly understood period characterized by the political collapse of divine kingship, changes in economic bases, and increased movement and migration of people across the landscape in the midst of a fractious and conflictive political environment. Her research is aimed at shedding light on the nature of these changes and explores archaeological evidence for shifting power and identity that occurred not only at large core centers, but also at smaller sites in peripheral locations, like Belize where she conducts her archaeological field work.
As a theoretically-oriented archaeologist, her research incorporates indigenous knowledge and social theory to better understand native ontologies and provides new ways of thinking about the ancient Maya, their material culture, and their perceptions of the political and sacred landscapes. Her forthcoming volume (co-edited with Julia Hendon) is entitled Relational Identities and Other-than-Human Agency in Archaeology to be published by the University Press of Colorado. Other publications include her edited volume Power and Identity in Archaeological Theory and Practice: Case Studies from Ancient Mesoamerica (University of Utah Press, 2012) and several recent chapter publications and articles published in journals, such as American Anthropologist (2012, 114:63-79 and 2014, 116:338-351) and the journal Ethnohistory (2014, 61:681-713).
Brett A. Houk is an associate professor of archaeology at Texas Tech University and chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work. He earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology from The University of Texas at Austin. Houk has over 20 years of experience investigating the ancient Maya ruins and landscapes of northwestern Belize, and has conducted research at Dos Hombres, La Milpa, Say Ka, and Chan Chich. He is currently the director of the Chan Chich Archaeological Project and its regional component, the Belize Estates Archaeological Survey Team. His is the author of Ancient Maya Cities of the Eastern Lowlands and co-editor of Ritual, Violence, and Fall of the Classic Maya Kings, published by University Press of Florida, and his research focus on ancient urban planning and the Classic Maya collapse.
Takeshi Inomata is Professor and Agnese Nelms Haury Chair in Environment and Social Justice at the School of Anthropology, University of Arizona. He has been directing archaeological investigations at Aguateca and Ceibal.
Mary Kate Kelly
Mary Kate Kelly is a Ph.D. Candidate at Tulane University, studying the linguistics of Maya hieroglyphs. Her research looks at the linguistic variation present in the inscriptions, in order to gain better insight as to the distribution of different, but related, linguistic groups among the Maya. Her interests lie at the crossroads of language, literature, and culture, and extend to historical linguistics and the world's writing systems.
George is a recent graduate of the Anthropology M.A. program at the University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida. He is currently working as an Archaeological Monitor for Open Range Archaeology, an archaeological and historical resource management consultant. As a staff member of the Pacbitun Regional Archaeological Project (PRAP) since 2012, George studies the ancient Maya of the Belize River Valley and the Southern Lowlands. Much of his work at the site of Pacbitun, Belize has focused on the monumental architecture of the site’s civic-ceremonial center. More specifically, his research interests include ritual/ceremonial architecture and the development and organization of sociopolitical institutions.
I received an M.A. degree in Anthropology from Florida Atlantic University in 2001 and a Ph.D. in Anthropology with a focus in Archaeology from The State University of New York at Buffalo, NY in 2006. At Buffalo I was funded by an NSF-sponsored IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training) interdisciplinary program for Geographic Information Science and Archaeology. I taught at Wichita State University, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, and moved to the University of California, Merced in 2010 where I am an Associate Professor and currently serve as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts.
I specialize in ancient Mesoamerica and the Archaeology of Religion with a focus on cross-cultural ritual cave use. Most of my field research is in ancient Maya ritual cave sites in Belize. My interests are in how ideologies are created, maintained, and changed over time, and how they affect social processes and human decision-making. I see ideologies as important social catalysts because beliefs can lead to decisions that have far-reaching, long-term, and sometimes catastrophic effects. We witness events underpinned by strong ideologies and religious convictions today being played out on the world stage, and are all too familiar with their consequences, both destructive and beneficent. When studying the past archaeologists have the opportunity to view history from a long temporal perspective that bears witness to extended social and political processes and their ultimate outcomes, so one can witness how ideologies and cosmologies affect societies over time. My own work on the ancient Maya culture illustrates the power of worldview in the light of history.
A native of Natchez, Mississippi, Christopher A. Pool received his B.A. in Anthropology and Geology at Rice University and his Ph.D. in Anthropology at Tulane University. Chris teaches at the University of Kentucky, where he has served as Chair of the Department of Anthropology and Director of the Latin American Studies Program. He previously co-edited Latin American Antiquity and currently edits the Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association (AP3A). Chris began his work in southern Veracruz, Mexico at the Classic period site of Matacapan in 1983 for his dissertation on the organization of ceramic production, subsequently conducting household archaeology at Bezuapan. Since 1996 he has directed field work in and around Tres Zapotes with the support of the National Science Foundation, including the current Tres Zapotes Regional Survey combining LiDAR with traditional archaeological reconnaissance. He is author of Olmec Archaeology and Early Mesoamerica (Cambridge, 2007) and has edited seven volumes, including Pottery Economics in Mesoamerica (with George J. Bey, III, University of Arizona Press, 2007), Classic Period Cultural Currents in Southern and Central Veracruz (with Philip J. Arnold, III, Dumbarton Oaks, 2008), and the Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology (with Deborah L. Nichols, 2013). In 2012, the University of Kentucky awarded Chris the title of University Research Professor.
Terry is a New World archaeologist in the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia. He joined the faculty at Kennesaw State University in August 2005, and is currently an Associate Professor of anthropology. Terry received his Master’s degree in anthropology at Trent University and his Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. He is an archaeologist who conducts research both in the Maya Lowlands of Belize, Central America and the Southeastern United States. He specializes in Maya pottery, diet and subsistence, and the evolution of complex societies. His recent research has focused on the origin of chocolate in the New World.
Keith Prufer is an environmental archaeologist and Professor in Department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico and an affiliated faculty at the UNM Center for Stable Isotopes. His early research focused on how caves articulated with geopolitical and social status in small polities. From 2005 to 2015 he directed archaeological and environmental research in the Rio Blanco Valley and the Classic Period center of Uxbenká. These studies focused on developing models for the development and decline of complex sociopolitical systems in their ecological context. With support from the Alphawood Foundation and the National Science Foundation these interdisciplinary studies have contributed to refining Classic Period chronologies and understanding complex human-environmental dynamics by developing paleoclimate and paleoecological proxies for the Maya Lowlands. His more recent research is examining the earliest Paleoamerican and Archaic peoples in the Maya Lowlands, focused on periods of major change in subsistence and social behaviors including adaptations to the emergence of lowland tropical rainforests, initial food production, the transition to sedentary communities, and the development of institutional inequality. Much of this work focuses on excavations of extremely well preserved rockshelter contexts in the remote Maya Mountains.
Andrew Scherer is an anthropological archaeologist and biological anthropologist with a geographic focus in Mesoamerica (Maya). He co-directs an interdisciplinary archaeological research project that is exploring Classic Maya polities along the Usumacinta River in Mexico and Guatemala. Scherer has conducted bioarchaeological research at Maya sites throughout Mexico and Guatemala, including Piedras Negras, Yaxha, and El Zotz. Scherer's research interests include mortuary archaeology, warfare and violence, ritual practice, political practice, diet and subsistence, bioarchaeology, and landscape archaeology.
Sheldon is a geoarchaeologist in the Chemistry and Chemical Technology Department of Bronx Community College, CUNY, Bronx, New York. He joined the faculty at Bronx Community College in January, 2013, and is currently an Assistant Professor. Sheldon received his Bachelor's degrees in Anthropology and Chemistry from the University of Washington, and his Ph.D. in Geology at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. He focuses on the analysis of stony archaeological artifacts such as granite manos, and also uses geophysics for discovery and characterization of buried archaeological sites. He has conducted research in Italy, Tunisia, all across the United States, and in the Maya Lowlands of Belize. He is an instructor in the RPA Continuing Education course, Advanced Metal Detecting for the Archaeologist, and teaches introductory geology and chemistry courses at Bronx Community College.
Alexandre Tokovinine is a Maya epigrapher and archaeologist. He has participated in several projects in Guatemala including Holmul Archaeological Project and Proyecto Arqueológico de Investigación y Rescate Naranjo. He received a doctoral degree in Anthropology from Harvard University in 2008. His doctoral research centered on Classic Maya place names and was supported by a Junior Fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks. Its results were published as a monograph, Place and Identity in Classic Maya Narratives. Other projects include 3D documentation of Classic Maya monuments, buildings, and artifacts and contributions to Ancient Maya Art at Dumbarton Oaks (CAA Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award of 2013). Alexandre Tokovinine currently holds the position of Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of Alabama.
Brent Woodfill began conducting research in Guatemala in 2000, focusing on multiple cave systems, hilltop shrines, and associated settlements. All of these places were still sacred to the contemporary Q’eqchi’ Maya who lived atop and around them today, and so he began to collaborate with local leaders and spiritual guides as well as government agencies and development specialists, using the archaeological research to help with local development initiatives.
Since 2009, Woodfill has been working at the site of Salinas de los Nueve Cerros, a major city occupied for over 2,000 years that surrounds the only non-coastal salt source in the Maya lowlands. As with the rest of the region, the descendants of the ancient Maya have moved back into the ruins of this city where they live and farm in the shadow of the ancient pyramids and palaces. In addition to the scientific advances there, the project has been able to repair local infrastructure, provide access to clean water, and helped to found a development project staffed entirely by local Maya who work with a liaison who has been helping to train staff and create and better ties between the local NGO and national and international development agencies.
Marc Zender received his Ph.D. in Archaeology from the University of Calgary in 2004. He has taught at the University of Calgary (2002-2004) and Harvard University (2005-2011), and is now an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics at Tulane University, New Orleans, where he has taught linguistics, epigraphy, and Mesoamerican languages (Yucatec Maya, Chicontepec Nahuatl) since September 2011. Marc's research interests include anthropological and historical linguistics, comparative writing systems, and archaeological decipherment, with a regional focus on Mesoamerica (particularly Mayan and Nahuatl/Aztec). Marc is Editor of The PARI Journal, project epigrapher for the Proyecto Arqueológico de Comalcalco (in Tabasco, Mexico), and is presently involved in epigraphic research at Cahal Pech and Buenavista del Cayo (both in Belize).