December 10, 1999
Colloquium Speaker: Thomas H. Guderjan
Dr. Thomas H. Guderjan is the Executive Director of the Maya Research Program and Assistant Professor at St. Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas. He also directs MRP's excavations at the Blue Creek Maya Ruin in Belize, Central America. Dr. Guderjan has held a Fulbright Research Fellowship and a Kellog Museum Studies Fellowship. Before joining the faculty of St. Mary's University, Dr. Guderjan was at the University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, where he was Director of the Department of Exhibits and a Senior Curator. Dr. Guderjan earned a B.A. in Geography and Anthropology from Southern Illinois University in 1976. He also has an M.A.(1983) and a Ph.D.(1988), both in Anthropology, from Southern Methodist University. His areas of special interest include Archaeology of North America, Archaeology of Middle America, Native Americans, and Museum Studies. He has also undertaken archaeological research in the south and southwestern United States and has worked with contemporary Native Americans and in museum studies.
The Blue Creek project is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional study of an ancient Maya city. Though preceded by a village (600BC-100AD), Blue Creek as a city was founded at about 100AD. For the next 400 years it grew rapidly and grew wealthy. Suddenly, at about 500AD, the city ceased to construct large public buildings. Even so, it remained wealthy and the population continued to grow until about 850AD when the Maya civilization as a whole collapsed. The Blue Creek project focuses on the structure and dynamics of an ancient Maya city and embraces topics as diverse as demography, biosilicate analysis, architecture, ritual, burial practices, and the flow of stone and ceramic artifacts through the ancient society. In November this year, as a result of the discovery of an unopened tomb and jade, Dr. Guderjan's work at Blue Creek was featured in the Discovery Magazine program, "Mysteries of Jade".