The International Research Fellowship Program enables U.S. scientists and engineers to conduct three to twenty-four months of research abroad. The program's awards provide opportunities for joint research, and the use of unique or complementary facilities, expertise and experimental conditions abroad.
This award will support a twenty-one month research fellowship by Dr. Geoffrey E. Braswell to work with Dr. Jaime Awe at the Department of Archaeology at the Ministry of Tourism in Belmopan, Belize.
This project will involve the gathering of data to test two contrasting hypotheses about weakly and strongly integrated Classic Mayan states. The Pis will work on a program of archaeological investigation, preservation, and consolidation at the ancient Maya city of Pusilha, Belize in Central America. Pusilha is a mid-size population and political center located in the extreme southwest of Belize. The site is known for its many carved monuments dating to AD 573-751 and for a unique engineering feature: an ancient triple-span bridge over the Pusilha (Machaca) River and two artificial diversion canals. Dr. Awe is the Archaeological Coordinator of the Ministry of Tourism's Development Project. As a fellow under Dr. Awe, Dr. Braswell will learn the archaeological and engineering techniques used to consolidate ancient monuments. They will test specific centralist and decentralist hypotheses regarding the horizontal and hierarchical integration of ancient Maya economy against a historical-political framework derived from monumental texts of Pusilha. Their research will contribute new and refine existing models of organization, stability, and change in Maya society, and - by extension - will be of relevance to the study of archaic states throughout the world.