Division of Social Sciences UCSD

Chichen Itza, Mexico

The Pyramid of Kukulkan, located on the Great Platform, is the tallest structure at Chichen Itza and dates to ca. A.D. 950/1000.


Chichen Itza, Mexico

Hieroglyphic text from the Akab' Tz'ib', the residence of Kokom Yahawal Cho' K’ak’.


Templo Mayor, Mexico

This large altar stone, originally located at the base of the Great Pyramid, depicts Coyolxauhqui, an Aztec moon goddess who was killed by her brother Huitzilopochtli.


Lubaantun, Belize

Structure 34, a Maya temple dating to the eighth and ninth centuries, at the site where the infamous Crystal Skull was "discovered."


Key Publications

Mesoamerican Archaeology Laboratory

Welcome to the Mesoamerican Archaeology Laboratory at UCSD. Our research focuses on the emergence of political and economic complexity among the ancient cultures of Mexico and Central America, particularly the Maya. Faculty and graduate students are currently conducting field research in the modern nations of Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala. We also have long-standing research interests concerning the non-Maya peoples of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and central Mexico.

We study the ancient Maya and their neighbors through site excavation, survey, artifact analysis, ethnohistory, iconographic studies, and epigraphy. Our current research foci are:

  • Intraregional interaction in the Southern Belize Region, specifically Lubaantun and Nim Li Punit (TRIP)
  • Foreign interaction, growth, and the chronology of Chichen Itza, Mexico
  • Secondary state formation and migration at Pusilha, Belize
  • The emergence of market economies throughout Mesoamerica
  • Identity, social structure, and settlement patterns of the highland Maya

Each year we run archaeological study abroad trips to the Maya area, central Mexico, and even Egypt. Come join us and learn more about the ancient past!