Marcello A. Canuto Professor Department of Anthropology Tulane University

Marcello A. Canuto


Dir. Middle American Research Institute (MARI)
310 Dinwiddie Hall - Lab 303


Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania


Marcello A. Canuto is currently Director of the Middle American Research Institute and Professor of Anthropology at Tulane University. He received his BA from Harvard University in 1991 and his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002. Before coming to Tulane in 2009, he was an Assistant Professor at Yale University.

He has undertaken archaeological excavations in the Maya region, South America, India, north Africa, and the northeast US. His primary research interest in the Maya area has been on the integrative mechanisms that the ancient Maya used to build and maintain a socio-politically complex society throughout both the Preclassic and Classic periods. More broadly, his interests include household and community dynamics, the development of socio-political complexity in ancient societies, the definition of identity through material culture, and the modern social contexts of archaeology in Mesoamerica. His past research in Honduras investigated the nature of ethnic diversity at Copan. He now co-directs a project in the understudied Northwest Peten, Guatemala where he investigates the construction of social categories and the mechanisms by which complex socio-political organizations develop and were maintained.

Among many publications are the edited volumes The Regimes of the Ancient Maya (in preparation with Cambridge, 2019), Understanding Early Classic Copan: New Research and New Themes (University of Pennsylvania, 2004), The Archaeology of Communities: A New World Perspective (Routledge, 2000). He also serves on the U.S. Board of the Universidad del Valle Guatemala.

Fields of Study: Archaeology, socio-political complexity, community organization, settlement patterns, archaeological remote sensing; Maya studies, Mesoamerica