Geographical Areas of Specialization
- Mesoamerica; Belize; Central Asia; Kyrgyzstan
- archaeology; settlement patterns; Maya, gender, ethics; archaeology and social context
Most of my primary research has taken place in Belize , where I have directed major excavations and general mapping and reconnaissance in the remains of three ancient Maya cities. The focus of my research in Belize has been on understanding and reconstructing very large systems of human organization that developed before the modern world system, for which the Maya provide a crucial example as one of the few places in the world where urbanism developed independently.
For example, might an uncritical focus on the power of elites and the glory of kings reinforce a worldview among our admirers and students that we don't actually believe in or want to promote? Might the perpetuation of a model that organizes world cultures into an historical trajectory that evolves naturally to become a hierarchical state reflect more of the political present that it teaches about the past? Is it really either scientific or desirable to provide this uncritical validation for the status quo?
Are we asking questions in such a way that the ascendancy of a particular sort of political economy is always confirmed?
- Comparative ancient civilizations; archaeological ethics