UTSA anthropologist Jason Yaeger to speak on Inca, Maya civilizations

Jason Yaeger

Jason Yaeger

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(April 10, 2012) -- The Southwest Texas Archaeological Society and the Archaeological Institute of America will host Jason Yaeger, UTSA associate professor of anthropology, for two presentations Thursday and Friday, April 12 and 13 at the UTSA Main Campus and Trinity University. Both lectures are free and open to the public.

Yaeger's first lecture, "Commemorating Creation: The Inca Reoccupation of Tiwanaka, Bolivia," will be 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 12 in Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering Building Room 2.102 on the UTSA Main Campus. Yaeger will discuss how the Inca modified the ancient and abandoned temples to create a venue for the commemoration and reenactment of those cosmogonic events -- events involving astrophysical study of the origin and evolution of the universe.

At 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 13 in the Trinity University Chapman Auditorium, Yaeger will speak on "Politics, Warfare and Sacrifice in the Classic Maya World: A View from Xunantunich, Belize." He will present an overview of the understanding of the political dynamics of the Classic Maya civilization and the role of warfare and sacrifice.

Yaeger's interest in the ancient Maya began in the early 1980s, when a visit to the site of Chichen Itza sparked his passion for archaeology. Although his initial focus was ancient Maya hieroglyphic writing, his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan led him to shift his focus to field archaeology, particularly the study of ancient settlement patterns.

Yaeger earned his Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, where his dissertation examined local community organization and the role of material culture in the creation of local and extra-local social institutions such as the community and the polity (a state or one of its subordinate civil authorities such as a province).

Since 1990, Yaeger has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Belize, Bolivia, the United States and India. His primary research interests are the archaeology and ethnohistory of Mesoamerica and the Andes with a focus on the organization of ancient households and communities, ancient urbanism, and material culture and identity.

Jaeger has published "Classic Maya Provincial Politics: Xunantunich and Its Hinterlands" (with Lisa J. LeCount, Arizona, 2010) and "The Archaeology of Communities: A New World Perspective" (with Marcello A. Canuto, Routledge, 2000).