I am a Mesoamerican archaeologist with a regional focus on the Maya civilization. The central goal of my research is to investigate the ways that wealth and power were expressed at the community scale, focusing particularly on the manipulation of high-value commodities and materials. My ongoing research projects in highland Chiapas explore the influence of exotic, high-value goods on household economic organization among the hilltop kingdoms of the Jovel Valley (San Cristóbal region, Chiapas, Mexico), and the sociopolitical relationships between these kingdoms. A second project at Mayapan, Yucatan, Mexico, investigates the role of sub-royal elites in interregional exchange networks and luxury craft industries, focusing particularly on metalworking activities.
My projects in Mayapan and the Jovel Valley have received grant support from the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, and P.E.O. International. The results have been published in journals such as The Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, The Journal of Archaeological Science, andAncient Mesoamerica. Other publications include chapters in edited volumes at the University Press of Colorado, the New World Archaeological Foundation, and CESMECA (Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas) and presentations at international conferences. My work on Archaic and Formative period lithic technologies in Mesoamerica has been published in Lithic Technology, in an edited volume published by Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, and presentations at professional conferences.
My courses include Archaeology of the Ancient Maya, Aztecs, Incas and Mayas, the Archaeology of Collapse, Ancient Technology, and Introduction to Archaeology. I have also taught courses in Cultural Anthropology such as Views of Human Nature, and four-field courses such as Introduction to Anthropology. Interests in cross-cultural and multidisciplinary approaches to archaeological method and theory also inform my approach to teaching and course design. Many of my courses emphasize hands-on and interactive learning which introduce students to experimental archaeology and research design. In Fall 2014, I and my colleagues at St. Lawrence University organized an “Atlatl Battle” and workshop, in which students competed in dart-throwing with SUNY-Potsdam students, and learned basic flintknapping skills.