Maya Archaeological Initiative

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Archaeology Department

Francisco Estrada-Belli, FSA
Visiting Assistant Professor

Ph.D. 1998, Boston University, Archaeology.
B.A. 1991,  University of Rome "La Sapienza", Archaeology and Anthropology

                  photo by Ken Garrett

Dissertation Title:
The Evolution of Complex Societies in Southeastern Pacific Coastal Guatemala: A Regional GIS Archaeological Approach.

I specialize in the early emergence of state society in the Maya Lowlands, settlement patterns studies, GIS & Remote Sensing,  and (occasionally) underwater archaeology.

Current research project: 

The Holmul Archaeological Project
Focusing on Holmul and its minor centers (Cival, La Sufricaya, K'o, T'ot, Hamontun, Hahakab etc.), this project investigates the rise (and fall) of Lowland Maya Civilization from its very earliest beginnings. The interactions of humans and their environment through time are a special area of interest. At Cival and Holmul we are uncovering earliest ritual deposits and iconography that mark the beginning set of beliefs and activities that are the core of Maya civilization in the Preclassic period and we trace its growth into the Classic period.  Another subject of investigation are the political changes occurred at the end of the Preclassic period and what role Teotihuacan may have played in the Maya Lowlands in the Early Classic period. In this respect, the evidence from La Sufricaya and Holmul is providing great new clues. Finally, we are investigating the relationship of the Late Classic Holmul elite with that of peripheral centers such as K'o and Hamontun and what was the political milieu  in NE Peten as Holmul ended its path as a Classic Maya city.

In 2010 I founded the Maya Archaeological Initiative, a non-profit organization to promote education and preservation of the cultural patrimony of Peten, Guatemala. Among various projects are conservation at the sites of Holmul and Cival, TV shows, children books, and museum exhibits in Guatemala and around the world. We are also on facebook

Rise of Fall of Civilizations, Ancient Mesoamerican Civilizations, Maya Archaeology
Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing in Archaeology, Old World Arcaheology
Problems in Anthropological Theory: Archaelogical Theory.
Field School in Maya Archaeology (Holmul)
Field School in Underwater Archaeology (Bermuda 2000, 2001)

Contact info (617) 358-1660,

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