9319784 Buikstra Under the direction of Dr. Jane Buikstra, Mr. Christopher Begley will collect data for his doctoral dissertation. He will conduct archaeological fieldwork in the Miskito Coast region of Honduras. In a three stage process, he will carry out a 100% surface survey of a well delimited river valley region. In the second phase he will conduct trial excavation in an attempt to locate buried sites which are not marked by surface architecture and in the final stage undertake broad scale excavation in selected areas. He will analyze the ceramics and other cultural material collected and through radiocarbon and obsidian hydration dating construct a chronological sequence for the region. At the conclusion of the project he hopes to be able to trace the settlement history of the area and determine how cultural complexity developed. For over a millennia the Mayan peoples dominated major lowland areas of Middle America. Eastern Honduras, where Mr. Begley will work has, until recently, appeared to lie outside the Mayan sphere of influence and relate more closely to prehistoric cultures of South America. However recent work by Mr. Begley and others suggests that such may not be the case. At ca. 1,000 AD a number of Mayan traits such as monumental architecture appear in the region. What is particularly interesting is that by this period Mayan culture was in its decline and Mr. Begley wishes to compare and relate events in the Eastern Honduras to the Mayan heartland. Many archaeologists and historians have postulated how core and periphery areas interact with each other and models proposed vary widely. Mr. Begley's research will provide data to examine several of them. This research is important for several reasons. It will provide archaeological data from an important and almost unknown region. and this will be of interest to many archaeologists. The work will also increase our understanding of how cultural complexity develops and assist in the training of a promising young scientist. ***

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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John E. Yellen
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University of Chicago
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