MEMBER SNAPSHOTS

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Dr. Diana Moreiras Reynaga: Executive Director

(BA & MA, University of British Columbia; PhD, The University of Western Ontario) is currently a Research Associate at The University of British Columbia and a Bioarchaeologist within the Templo Mayor Project who specializes in Mesoamerican bioarchaeology. Her main research interests include ancient human diets and geographic mobility, stable isotopes, biomolecular techniques, childhood and children in Mesoamerica, the use of animals in Mesoamerican ritual contexts, and the use (environmental, cultural, symbolic) of Theobroma cacao (chocolate) and maize by pre-Columbian peoples across the Americas. Her PhD research involved the study of dietary and residential patterns via multiple stable isotope analyses of adults and subadults sacrificed by the Aztecs (Mexica) at the Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlan and Templo R of Tlatelolco (Basin of Mexico) during the Late Postclassic period (AD 900-1521). Her research can be found at: https://ubc.academia.edu/DianaMoreiras and https://works.bepress.com/d_moreiras/

Matthew Longstaffe: Financial Director

(BA University of Western Ontario; MA Trent University) is a Doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Calgary. His ongoing research examines ancient Maya household strategies of integration with socioeconomic institutions. He has conducted archaeological field work in Belize, Mexico, and Ontario. He has also worked in leadership positions at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University in the areas of programmatic evaluation, data analysis, continuous quality assurance, and project management. He is currently the Field Director for the Stann Creek Regional Archaeology Project (https://scraparchaeology.com/), Alabama, Stann Creek District, Belize, and a Field Supervisor for the Proyecto Arqueológico Yaxnohcah (PAY), Yaxnohcah, Campeche, Mexico.

Dr. Alec McLellan: Research Director

(BA & MA Trent University, PhD University College London) is a Field Director at Archaeological Services Inc. (ASI), a Research Fellow at Trent University Archaeological Research Centre (TUARC), and a Sessional Instructor at University of Toronto, Mississauga. His research focuses on the development of Precolumbian Maya civilization at Lamanai and Ka’kabish, two sites in northern Belize. He is interested in settlement patterns, paleoenvironmental reconstructions, spatial analysis, geographic information systems, and early complex societies. His PhD dissertation demonstrated that the inhabitants of Lamanai reacted to periods of increased soil erosion and deforestation by managing their agricultural and arboreal resources, striking a balance between settlement growth and an increasing need to exploit the environment.

Dr. Aleksa K. Alaica: Events Director

(BA University of Toronto; Msc University of Edinburgh; PhD University of Toronto)

Aleksa is currently a Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Alberta and director of the project titled “Imperial Animal Management Strategies in Cusco, Peru: Tracking Social and Environmental Sustainability through Faunal Remains and Isotope Analyses”. Her main research interests include human-animal interactions, bioarchaeology, isotope analyses, Andean archaeology, political economy, and pastoralism. Her PhD research involved the study of the exploitation and veneration of animal species among the Moche of North Coast Peru. She examined the Moche iconographic record, faunal remains from the Middle Horizon sites (CE 600-1000) of Huaca Colorada and Tecapa and undertook systematic isotopic analyses of human and animal remains to interpret the role of wild and domesticated species in the daily lives, seasonal gatherings, and ritual practices of coastal communities. Her current postdoctoral research addresses the role and influence of Wari imperial expansion during the Middle Horizon of the Cusco region. The central objective of this research is to realize the way that local groups of the Cusco region were responding to environmental and political transformations to shed light on the obstacles faced by these communities and their resilience in the face of change.

Her research can be found at: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=5tCkPxoAAAAJ&hl=en

Amedeo Sghinolfi: Social Media Director

(BA & MA, University of Padova – Italy) is currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Western Ontario. His ongoing PhD research aims to reconstruct the Prehispanic settlement patterns of the Carabamba Valley, located between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean in Northern Peru. He has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Italy (Aquileia, Sepino, Pilastri di Bondeno), in the Moche and Virú valleys in Northern Peru, and he analyzed Peruvian ceramic artifacts preserved in the Museum of Civilizations (former Pigorini Museum in Rome). His research interests include intergroup interaction, ancient borderlands, settlement patterns, spatial analyses through Geographic Information Systems, remote sensing, ceramic analysis and early state societies. His research can be viewed at: https://westernu.academia.edu/AmedeoSghinolfi

MEMBERS AT LARGE

 

Heather McKillop, Louisiana State University

I earned my Honors B.Sc. and M.A. from Trent University and my Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara. My MA thesis fieldwork at Moho Cay near Belize City started my adventures in coastal Maya archaeology. I am grateful to Trent and to my MA advisor Dr. Paul F. Healy. After excavating on Wild Cane Cay, another trading port in southern Belize for my doctoral research and afterwards, I searched the coastal area for other sites and to figure out the ancient economy and settlement.
With students from LSU, I directed excavations on Frenchman's Cay, Pork and Doughboy Point, and Wild Cane Cay. Since the discovery of preserved wooden buildings and the Classic Maya canoe paddle in 2004, my team has focused research on the submerged sites of the Paynes Creek Salt Works in Punta Ycacos Lagoon, not far from Wild Cane Cay. See my web page www.underwatermaya.com for information about the submerged salt works, our 3D digital imaging, and movies. I have a current NSF project with Dr. E. Cory Sills excavating Ta'ab Nuk Na and hopefully soon, Ek Way Nal.

Michael Blake, Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia

Michael Blake is an anthropological archaeologist who joined the Dept. of Anthropology at UBC in 1986, after completing his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in 1985. He has carried out archaeological research in Mexico and British Columbia for the past 40+ years. His work in Mexico has focussed on early village life, social and economic organization, including both ethnoarchaeology and archaeology with Maya people in Highland Chiapas. His work on the origins of maize agriculture appears in the book Maize for the Gods: Unearthing the 9,000-Year History of Corn (University of California Press, 2015). He also works with many First Nations elders and community members in the Fraser Valley region of British Columbia—primarily with Sq’éwlets First Nation, Stó:lō Tribal Council, and Stó:lō Nation, whose teachings and history are highlighted in the recently released Sq’éwlets: a Stó:lō-Coast Salish Community in the Fraser River Valley (sponsored by the Virtual Museum of Canada: http://www.digitalsqewlets.ca/).

Kathryn Florence, Independent Scholar

Kathryn Florence is the founder of CLAAS. She conducted her undergraduate work at Purdue University, West Lafayette, graduating in 2017 with an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History, minoring in Classics. In 2019 Florence received a Master of Arts in Art History from Concordia University, Montreal. Her interests include the intersection of art, power, and the formation of identity in Indigenous art, computational statistical analysis in art historical research, and Teotihuacano interregional interaction. She is currently revising a manuscript of her research about the origin of the Plumed Serpent as a symbol of Teotihuacan common action government for publication.She can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Her lectures can be found at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3bRGTYX5Vopt-YmOrQTzBw.

Dr. Meaghan Peuramaki-Brown, Athabasca University

I am an Archaeologist who specializes in the complex societies of Mesoamerica. I received my MA in Artefact Studies from the Institute of Archaeology at the University College London (2004), and my PhD in Archaeology from the University of Calgary (2013) where I am an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology. I am originally from Thunder Bay, ON, but now live in Calgary, Alberta.

My research focuses primarily on ancient settlement development and household activity patterns. I am Principal Investigator of the Stann Creek Regional Archaeology Project (SCRAP), and have worked at several sites in Belize, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. My teaching at AU takes place entirely online and, as a result, I am particularly interested in technology-enabled learning in archaeological pedagogy, education, and outreach.

You can read more about my research at the following sites:

www.anthropology.athabascau.ca/faculty/mbrown.php
www.scraparchaeology.com/
www.sketchfab.com/meaghanp

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