Events and Activities



AIA Talk: Underwater Maya 1 March 2012

Dr. Heather McKillop, the Doris Z. Stone Professor of Latin American Studies at Louisiana State University will give two talks on underwater archaeology of Maya sites in Belize.  Dr. McKillop is author of several books, including The Ancient Maya:  New Perspectives and In Search of Maya Sea Traders

In her midday talk she observes that since wood normally decays in the tropical landscape of the Maya area, the stunning preservation of wooden posts and artifacts in a peat bog below the seafloor in Paynes Creek National Park, Belize, provides new information about Classic Maya buildings and life-ways. Dr. McKillop established the Digital Imaging and Visualization in Archaeology (DIVA) Lab at Louisiana State University. In the spring of 2011 her team set up a remote lab in their jungle field camp in Belize, where they did 3D scans of artifacts and returned them for storage at the underwater sites. In this presentation, she highlights use of a 3D laser scanner and 3D printer. She notes that digital images are critical to preserving a record of deteriorating artifacts, and digital images and 3D prints that create plastic replicas of the artifact, are also important for teaching, displays, study, and an effort for the local people to protect the underwater Maya sites by investing in them through tourism.

Describing the topic of her evening talk, Dr. McKillop relates, “While walking in a shallow lagoon in southern Belize in search of 'briquetage'—broken pots used to boil brine over fires to make salt—we made an accidental discovery that has transformed our knowledge of the ancient Maya. We found wooden posts and artifacts—including the only reported ancient Maya canoe paddle—perfectly preserved in a peat bog below the sea floor...In this presentation, I summarize the discovery and mapping of some 4000 wooden posts between 2005 and 2009, as well as the ongoing field research excavating 'Ancient Maya Wooden Architecture and the Salt Industry.'”

What: “Underwater Maya: 3D Digital Imaging and Site Preservation”
When:  March 1 (Thursday) 2012
Where:  12:45 p.m. Wilson Hall 168, UAHuntsville

What:  “Underwater Maya: Discovery, Mapping and Excavating in a Peat Bog Below the Sea Floor, Belize”
When:  7:30 p.m. March 1 (Thursday) 2012
Where:  Wilson Hall Theatre, UAHuntsville

Please come and bring a friend!