Six years bringing ancient Latin America’s knowledge to Yale: ALAL continues this Spring
The Ancient Latin America Lectures began in 2017, expanding out of the earlier Maya Lectures (2015-2017). Since then, the series has provided the Yale community with six years of lectures on the archaeology, art history, and culture of Latin America’s ancient peoples before the colonial period.
As stated by Dr. Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos, faculty sponsor for the series, “Yale faculty and students are conducting archaeological research across Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Ecuador, and Peru. The ALAL series brings to us the results of recent research on ancient Indigenous societies of Latin America, and new theoretical and methodological developments in our field. They expand the intellectual horizons of our students and provide unique opportunities to interact personally with researchers conducting cutting-edge research in this region.”
The Ancient Latin America Lectures present a vital opportunity for Yale undergraduate and graduate students, and Yale faculty, to engage directly with scholars conducting ongoing research in the field.
A core group of graduate students form the ALAL organizing committee, with faculty advisory. They aspire to bring together scholars at various stages of their academic careers with diverse research areas, methodologies, and theoretical perspectives. These graduate students are Caitlin Davis, Adrian Everett, Corey Hermann, Michael Maddox, Sarah Martini, and Estanislao Pazmiño Tamayo, with Yale Anthropology professors Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos (photo, left) and Richard L. Burger (photo, right.)
This fall, we hosted a selection of speakers whose research is focused on the archaeology of Mesoamerica. Our inaugural lecture was given by Dr. Ashley Sharpe, research archaeologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. She presented an analysis of ancient animal remain from Guatemala and what these remains may indicate about human activities. The following lecture was presented by Dr. Jaime Awe, Professor of Anthropology at Northern Arizona University. His research into Belizean cave systems demonstrated the myriad ways in which the Maya people responded to drought during the Late Classic period (600 – 900 CE). The final lecture of the semester was presented by Dr. Timothy Pugh, Professor of Anthropology at Queens College CUNY. He discussed the potential for cooperative social processes in the Middle Formative period (800 – 500 BCE) of the Guatemalan Peten, arguing against the assumption that divine kingship was present during this time in Guatemalan history.
On February 10th, Dr. Warren Church, Professor of Anthropology at Columbus State University, will present a lecture on modeling the location of sites in the cloud forests of the northern Central Andes.
This spring, we are inviting three more engaging scholars to Yales’ campus. On February 10th, Dr. Warren Church, Professor of Anthropology at Columbus State University, will present a lecture on modeling the location of sites in the cloud forests of the northern Central Andes. On February 24th, Dr. Rebecca Bria, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, will present a lecture on human-environmental relationships and community archaeology in the Central Andes. The final lecture of the year will be given on April 14th by Dr. Barbara Arroyo, Fellow in Pre-Columbian Studies at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. She will focus on the ancient city of Kaminaljuyu, buried underneath present-day Guatemala City, synthesizing decades of research to think critically about the influence of the site on Mesoamerica.
The Ancient Latin America Lectures present a vital opportunity for Yale undergraduate and graduate students, and Yale faculty, to engage directly with scholars conducting ongoing research in the field. As we begin the spring semester, we invite you to join us for new conversations about people, power, and art in Ancient Latin America. All lectures are held in 51 Hillhouse at 12 pm and a light lunch is provided. We hope to see you there!
Caitlin Reddington Davis & Sarah Martini, Doctoral Candidates, Department of Anthropology, Coordinators for Yale Ancient Latin America Lectures