Dr. Terry Powis (Kennesaw State University), Project Director-My interest in Pacbitun began when I was an undergraduate at Trent University in the mid-1980s. At that time Dr. Paul Healy, Professor of Anthropology, was conducting major archaeological investigations at the site. When I returned to Trent in the mid-1990s as a graduate student I became involved in the research at Pacbitun, which was focused on defining the Preclassic period (900 BC-AD 250). It was this exposure to learning about the daily lives of the earliest Maya at the site that fueled, and continues to fuel, my archaeological research to this date. Beginning in 2008, with support from both Paul Healy and Jaime Awe, Director of the Belize Institute of Archaeology, I began my tenure as the Principal Investigator of the Pacbitun Regional Archaeological Project (PRAP). Today, the focus of research extends beyond the Preclassic period, incorporating studies by a number of graduate students, including Jenny Weber (Georgia State University), Jon Spenard (UC-Riverside), Kong Cheong (Trent University), and Arianne Boileau (Trent University). Since 2008, an archaeological field school has been run through Kennesaw State University. It is my intention with this field school to train students in the methods and techniques employed by professional archaeologists. My main goal is to prepare them for a successful career in archaeology in the 21st century. Find out more about Dr. Powis and Kennesaw’s anthropology program here http://ga.hss.kennesaw.edu/
Jenny Weber (University of Bonn), M.A., Project Co-director- I recently completed my masters thesis at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA. Since starting my archaeological studies in 2005, I had the opportunity to work on numerous historic and pre-historic projects, including various Native American and historic sites in Georgia/US, the 18th century Fortress of Louisbourg in Canada, and the ancient Roman site of Waldgirmes in Germany. After a study-abroad visit to Belize in 2008, I participated in the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance field school the same summer, shifting my research focus to Maya archaeology. Specifically, I am interested in the various interconnections within the cultural landscape, with a focus on the peripheral area between Maya site centers and caves. Throughout my graduate career at Georgia State University I also developed a strong interest in computational archaeology, e. g. implementing productive modeling applications into my studies. In 2010, I joined the Pacbitun Regional Archaeological Project where I conducted a settlement survey in the periphery of Pacbitun as part of my thesis research. In addition to the landscape analysis conducted through settlement survey, feature excavations, and the application of GIS technologies at Pacbitun, I also continue to be engaged in Georgia archaeology through GADNR, where I started working in the Historic Preservation Division in 2009.
Jon Spenard (University of California, Riverside), M.A, Project Archaeologist – I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Riverside, and have been working in the Maya area since attending the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance field school with Dr. Jaime Awe in 1998. I returned there over the next two summers as one of the cave archaeology staff members. I began an affiliation with the Cancuen project in Guatemala in early 2001 that spanned several years, which my Master’s research at Florida State University would eventually stem from. In early 2002, I had the opportunity to work in the Jolja caves in Chiapas, Mexico where I was one of three project members responsible for mapping the caves and reconnoitering others in the area. I have worked off and on with the National Park Service and various CRM firms throughout the US Southeast and Southwest since 2003. My dissertation research on this project is focused on reciprocal relationships between communities in the Pacbitun region and the karst landscape upon which they sit.
Norbert Stanchly (Trent University), Lab Director – I am currently a part-time MA candidate at Trent University. I have conducted archaeological research in Belize since 1990 and have participated in excavations at over a dozen Maya sites including Cahal Pech, Lamanai, and Minanha. I am a specialist in Maya zooarchaeology and am currently completing my Master’s thesis on the analysis of faunal remains from the lowland site of Minanha with a specific focus on social zooarchaeology. I have conducted analyses of faunal assemblages from 17 different sites in Belize ranging in date from the Preclassic through to the Colonial period. During my 22 years of conducting research in Belize I have had the pleasure of working with researchers from a number of institutions including Trent University, Royal Ontario Museum, University College London, Boston University, SUNY Albany, and the University of Copenhagen. In 2001-2002 I worked with the Institute of Archaeology, Belize as site archaeologist for the Tourism Development Project at Lamanai. Although I currently reside in Toronto, Canada, I am married to a Belizean and consider Belize to be my second home.
Megan D. Parker (Georgia State University), Paleoethnobotanist – I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Anthropology from Kennesaw State University in 2010 and I am now currently working on my Master’s degree at Georgia State University. My interests focus around paleoethnobotany, environmental anthropology/archaeology, and ritual. While an undergraduate, I was able to work on various prehistoric and historic sites throughout north Georgia, but my first introduction to Maya archaeology was with PRAP at Pacbitun on a field school in the summer of 2010. I returned in December 2010 to participate in the project’s lab season, analyzing and sorting artifacts from previous field seasons. I fell in love with Mesoamerican archaeology and am grateful to be able to continue working at Pacbitun during the 2012 season for my current research. My thesis work involves excavating and analyzing archaeobotanical remains from caves around Pacbitun in order to determine the extent of environmental influences on religious practices at the site.
Kong Cheong, Project Archaeologist: 2010-2011
Bryan Reece, Returning Student Archaeologist: 2010-2011
Stephany Valdez, Cave Archaeologist: 2010-2011
Jason Lee, Cave Archaeologist: 2010-2011
Arianne Boileau, Zooarchaeologist: 2011