Division of Social Sciences UCSD

Geoffrey E. Braswell


Department of Anthropology
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, M.C. 0532
La Jolla, CA 92093-0532
Tel: (858)-822-1540
FAX: (858)-534-5946

Geoffrey E. Braswell

Research Interests

(Areal) The ancient Maya and complex societies of highland Mexico and lower Central America; (Theoretical) the emergence of complex society and economic systems, alternative models of social and political systems; (Methodological) geoarchaeology, geochemistry, lithic studies, mathematical methods, settlement pattern studies; (Other Interests) Kaqchikel ethnohistory and linguistics, the sculpture of the Maya Highlands, indigenous development in contemporary Central America, Egyptology.

Academic Positions

  • Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, San Diego (since 7/2005)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, San Diego (7/2003-6/2005)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, SUNY-Buffalo (9/1997-9/2004)
  • Profesor Titular Visitante, Programa de Maestría, Facultad de Ciencias Antropológicas, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán (1995, 1997, 2000)
  • Catedra Fulbright, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (1996-1997)
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology, Tulane University (1996)

Professional Positions

  • Editorial Board, Approaches to Anthropological Archaeology Series, Equinox Publishing (since 2003)
  • President and Vice President, International Association for Obsidian Studies (1999-2002)


  • Tulane University, Department of Anthropology (1988-1996) - M.A. (1993), Ph.D. (1996)
  • Oberlin College, Department of Mathematics (1984-1986) - B.A. (1986)


1996 A Maya Obsidian Source: The Geoarchaeology, Settlement History, and Ancient Economy of San Martín Jilotepeque, Guatemala. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Tulane University. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor. The work presents the results of survey and excavations in a 138 km2 area surrounding an important obsidian source. Research questions focus on the relationship between natural resources, settlement patterns, and ancient production and distribution systems.

Field and Laboratory Experience (Latin America only)

  • Lubaantun and Nim li Punit, Belize (2009-Present) - Principal Investigator of the Toledo Regional Interaction Project, a study of political and economic integration on a regional scale
  • Chichén Itzá, México (2009-Present) - Director of a UCSD subproject within the Proyect Chichén Itzá (Rafael Cobos, P.I.); research focuses on the construction sequence of the site center (Gran Nivelación), with goal of understanding political development and economic organization
  • Mérida, México (1994-Present) - Study obsidian procurement and production patterns at Maya sites of the northern lowlands including Calakmul, Uxmal, Cobá, Mayapán, Dzibilchaltún, Izamal, Yaxuná, Oxkintok, Labná, Xkipché, Ek Balam, Acanceh, Xelhá, San Gervasio, Xuenkal, Chompotón and Xcambo
  • Pusilhá, Belize (2001-2008) - Principal Investigator of the Pusilhá Archaeological Project, a study of economic and political integration, fragmentation, and independence at a secondary site thought to be in the far periphery of the Copán state
  • Copán, Honduras (1991-2003) - Conducted field excavations in a royal residential group (Gr. 10L-2) under the direction of E. W. Andrews V; laboratory analysis of 45,000 obsidian artifacts
  • Calakmul, México (1998-1999) - Invited Investigator of the Proyecto El Petén Campechano: Su Pasado, Presente y Futuro, directed by William J. Folan
  • Managua and Rivas, Nicaragua (1996-1999) - Project lithicist for the Proyecto Regional Carazo, directed by Silvia Salgado González; Project lithicist for the Proyecto de Mapificación Región Central Norte, directed by Laraine A. Fletcher; Director of Fulbright graduate student, Proyecto Regional Rivas
  • Yaxhá and Topoxté, Guatemala (1996-1998) - Invited Investigator of the Proyecto Nacional de Tikal, Proyecto Triángulo Yaxhá-Nakum-Naranjo, directed by Oscar Quintana Samayoa and Wolfgang Würster
  • Kaminaljuyú, Guatemala (1996-1997) - Principal Investigator of El Proyecto Cronológico de Kaminaljuyú, a subproject of the Kaminaljuyu-Miraflores II project directed by Marion Popenoe de Hatch and Juan Antonio Valdés
  • Chichén Itzá, Mexico (1994-1997) - Excavations in Grupo Sacbe 61; Invited Investigator for the Fondo Nacional Arqueológico Proyecto Chichén Itzá, directed by Peter Schmidt
  • Dolores, Guatemala (1997) - Invited Investigator of the Atlas Arqueológico de Guatemala, directed by Juan Pedro Laporte
  • San Martín Jilotepeque, Guatemala (1990-1996) - Principal Investigator of Ri Rusamäj Jilotepeke, a survey and excavation project focused on Maya obsidian production and exchange in the Kaqchikel Highlands
  • La Antigua, Guatemala (1989-1996) - Directed field excavations, survey, and laboratory analysis for the Encuesta Arqueológica del Área Kaqchikel, directed by Eugenia Robinson and William Swezey
  • Ayala, Nicaragua (1993-1995) - Project lithicist for the Proyecto Regional Granada, directed by Silvia Salgado González
  • Teotihuacan, Mexico (1987) - Excavated in the Oaxaca Barrio under the direction of Michael Spence


  • 2010 (Z. Hruby, G.E. Braswell, and O. Chinchilla, eds.) The Technology of Maya Civilization: Political Economy and Beyond. Equinox Publishing, London.

    An edited volume of fourteen chapters concerning Maya economy, lithic technology, and political theory presented at the Third Maya Lithic Conference, 2007, Guatemala.

  • 2003 (editor) The Maya and Teotihuacan: Reinterpreting Early Classic Interaction. University of Texas Press, Austin.

    A collection of papers that re-examine the relationship between Central Mexico and the Maya region during the period A.D. 200-600. Contributors include the editor (four chapters, see below), Robert Sharer, George Cowgill, Joyce Marcus, David Pendergast, Arthur Demarest, Karl Taube, Juan Pedro Laporte, Frederick Bove, Ma Josefa Ponce de León, Carmen Varela, Sonia Medrano, and James Borowicz.

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters and Journal Articles

Chapters in Invited Symposium Volumes, Book Reviews, and Minor Publications