Visiting Scholar: Jeremy A. Sabloff

Monday, March 27, 2017

"Beyond Ancient Maya Temples, Palaces, and Tombs: How Maya Archaeologists Discovered the 99% Through the Study of Pre-Columbian Settlement Patterns"

Lecture by Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Jeremy A. Sabloff

5 p.m. - Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library auditorium

Reception to Follow

Current scholarly understandings of Pre-Columbian Maya civilization are quite different from the traditional model of ancient Maya civilization that dominated the field of Maya studies until recently and still dominates public perception of the ancient Maya. In part, this new view is due to both the significant increase in archaeological studies in the Maya area in the past few decades and the decipherment of Maya hieroglyphic texts, which have provided new insights into Maya history. However, much of the change is due to the introduction and rapid spread of settlement pattern studies more than a half a century ago. This lecture examines the major impact of the methodology of settlement pattern research on Maya archaeology and how such studies have moved archaeological studies away from their concentration on the ruling elites to a broader, more realistic approach that looks at elites and commoners alike.

Jeremy Sabloff is Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, and former director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum (1994-2004). An archaeologist, he recently retired as president of the Santa Fe Institute, where he continues as a member of the external faculty. He has written or edited 21 books and monographs on ancient Maya civilization, the rise of complex societies and cities, the history of archaeology, and the relevance of archaeology in the modern world. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, as well as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Society of Antiquaries (London). The Society for American Archaeology honored him with its Lifetime Achievement Award, and he is a recipient of the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s Lucy Wharton Drexel Medal.