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Research

The Holmul Archaeological Project attempts to further our knowledge of ancient Maya society through the study of a city and its surrounding landscape made of natural and cultural features.

Research at Holmul is multi-disciplinary in nature, combining environmental studies (aided by remote sensing, GIS, and geological surveys), archaeological mapping, and analysis by specialists (ceramics, lithics, and botanical, faunal and osteological remains), with architectural studies, iconography, and epigraphy.

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Publications, Research Reports, News Articles, and Video Clips

2020

Academic Publications

Ahern, Kaitlin R.
(2020) Monumental Foundations: An Investigation of the Preclassic Development of Civic-Ceremonial Plazas in the Civil Region, Guatemala. PhD dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo.

Tokovinine, Alexandre
(2020) Distance and power in Classic Maya texts. In: Reshaping the World: Debates on Mesoamerican Cosmologies, A. Díaz (ed.), pp. 251-281 . University Press of Colorado, Louisville.

Media Coverage

In Guatemala, the Maya world untouched for centuries (BBC, 9/15/2020)

2019

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Wahl, David, Lysanna Anderson, Francisco Estrada-Belli, and Alexandre Tokovinine
(2019) Palaeoenvironmental, Epigraphic and Archaeological Evidence of Total Warfare among the Classic Maya. Nature Human Behaviour 3:1049-1054. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-019-0671-x

Academic Publications

2019 Research Report (in Spanish)

Tokovinine, Alexandre
(2019) Fire in the Land: Landscapes of War in Classic Maya Narratives. In: Seeking Conflict in Mesoamerica: Operational, Cognitive, and Experiential Approaches, S. G. Morton and M. M. Peuramaki-Brown (eds.), pp. 77-100. University Press of Colorado, Louisville.

Media Coverage

Ancient Maya practiced 'total war' well before climate stress (National Geographic, 8/5/2019)

Burning of Maya City Said to Be Act of Total Warfare (New York Times, 8/5/2019)

Las guerras no causaron el colapso de la civilización maya (Prensa Libre, 8/13/2019)

Toner, Mike
(2019) The Saga of the Snakes. American Archaeology Fall 23(3):12-19.

Lost Treasures of the Maya (National Geographic, 2019, 4 episodes) (Video Clip)

2018

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Canuto, Marcello A., Francisco Estrada-Belli, Thomas G. Garrison, Stephen D. Houston, Mary Jane Acuña, Milan Kováč, Damien Marken, et al.
(2018) Ancient Lowland Maya Complexity as Revealed by Airborne Laser Scanning of Northern Guatemala. Science 361(6409):eaau-0137. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aau0137

Academic Publications

2018 Research Report (in Spanish)

Cormier, Aviva A.
(2018) Maya Osteobiographies of the Holmul Region, Guatemala: Curating Life Histories through Bioarchaeology and Stable Isotope Analysis. PhD dissertation, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Boston University, Boston.

Media Coverage

Laser Scans Reveal Maya "Megalopolis" Below Guatemalan Jungle (National Geographic, 2/1/2018)

Lasers Reveal a Maya Civilization So Dense It Blew Experts’ Minds (New York Times, 2/3/2018)

Maya-Stätte: Vogelperspektive - aber ohne Bäume (Bird's eye view - but without trees)  (Spiegel, 2/5/2018)

Lost Treasures of the Mayan Snake King (National Geographic, 2/6/2018) (Full Episode)

Unprecedented study confirms massive scale of lowland Maya civilization (Tulane News, 9/28/2018)

2017

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Tokovinine, Alexandre, and Francisco Estrada-Belli
(2017) From Stucco to Digital: Topometric Documentation of Classic Maya Facades at Holmul. Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage 6:18-28. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.daach.2017.04.004

Academic Publications

2017 Research Report (in Spanish)

Estrada-Belli, Francisco
(2017) The History, Function, and Meaning of Preclassic E Groups in the Cival Region. In: Maya E Groups: Calendars, and Urbanism in the Early Lowlands, D. Freidel, A. F. Chase, A. S. Dowd, and J. Murdock (eds.), pp. 225-270. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

2016

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Estrada-Belli, Francisco, and Alexandre Tokovinine
(2016) A King’s Apotheosis: Iconography, Text and Politics from a Classic Maya Temple at Holmul. Latin American Antiquity 27(2):149-168. http://dx.doi.org/10.7183/1045-6635.27.2.149

Academic Publications

2016 Research Report (in Spanish)

Callaghan, Michael G., and Nina Neivens de Estrada
(2016) The Ceramic Sequence of the Holmul Region, Guatemala. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Estrada-Belli, Francisco
(2016) Regional and Interregional Interactions and the Preclassic Maya. In: The Origins of Maya States, L. P. Traxler and R. J. Sharer (eds.), pp. 225-270. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia.

Tokovinine, Alexandre, and Francisco Estrada-Belli
(2015) La Sufricaya: A Place in Classic Maya Politics. In: Classic Maya Polities of the Southern Lowlands: Integration, Interaction, Dissolution, D. B. Marken and J. L. Fitzsimmons (eds.), pp. 195-224. University of Colorado Press, Boulder.

Media Coverage

Vance, Eric
(2016) In Search of the Lost Empire of the Maya. National Geographic Magazine. September 230(3):76-95.

Secret Mayan tombs lend rare insight into rule of mysterious 'snake kings' (The Guardian, 10/14/2016)

2015

Academic Publications

2015 Research Report (in Spanish)

2014

Academic Publications

2014 Research Report (in Spanish)

Elson, Christina, and Francisco Estrada-Belli
(2014) The Maya in Millennial Perspective. Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC.

Neivens de Estrada, Nina
(2014) A Tangled Web: Ceramic Adoption in the Maya Lowlands and Community Interaction in the Early Middle Preclassic as Seen in the K'awiil Complex from Holmul, Peten, Guatemala. In: The Maya and Their Central American Neighbors: Settlement Patterns, Architecture, Hieroglyphic Texts, and Ceramics, G. E. Braswell (ed.), pp. 177-200. Routledge, New York.

2013

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Callaghan, Michael G.
(2013) Politics Through Pottery: A View of the Preclassic-Classic Transition from Building B, Group II, Holmul, Guatemala. Ancient Mesoamerica 24(2):307–341. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0956536113000187

Academic Publications

2013 Research Report (in Spanish)

Wahl, David, Francisco Estrada-Belli, and Lysanna Anderson
(2013) A 3400 Year Paleolimnological Record of Prehispanic Human-Environment Interactions in the Holmul Region of the Southern Maya Lowlands. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 379-380:17-31.

Michael G. Callaghan, Francisco Estrada-Belli, and Nina Neivens de Estrada
(2013) Technological Style and Terminal Preclassic Orange Ceramics in the Holmul Region, Guatemala. In: Ancient Maya Pottery: Classification, Analysis and Interpretation, J. J. Aimers (ed.), pp. 121-141. University of Florida Press, Gainesville.

Tokovinine, Alexandre
(2013) Place and Identity in Classic Maya Narratives. Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology Studies Series 37. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC.

Media Coverage

Giant Maya Carvings Found in Guatemala (National Geographic, 8/7/2013)

2012

Academic Publications

2012 Research Report (in Spanish)

2012 Research Report (Summary Report in English)

Estrada-Belli, Francisco
(2012) Early Civilization in the Maya Lowlands, Monumentality and Place Making: A view from the Holmul region. In: Early New World Monumentality, R. L. Burger and R. M. Rosenswig (eds.), pp. 198-227. University of Florida Press, Gainesville.

2011

Academic Publications

Estrada-Belli, Francisco
(2011) The First Maya Civilization: Ritual and Power Before the Classic Period. Routledge, London.

Estrada-Belli, Francisco, Alexandre Tokovinine, Jennifer M. Foley, Heather Hurst, Gene A. Ware, David Stuart, and Nikolai Grube
(2011) Pintura mural e historia en Holmul, La Sufricaya, Guatemala, y las relaciones Teotihuacanas en las tierras bajas. In: Texto, Imagen e identidad en la pintura maya prehispánica, M. Paxton and M. A. Hermann Lejarazu (eds.). pp. 9-61. Cuadernos del Centro de Estudios Mayas 36. Centro de Estudios Mayas, UNAM, Mexico City.

Mongelluzzo, Ryan W.
(2011) Experiencing Maya Palaces: Royal Power, Space, and Architecture at Holmul, Guatemala. PhD dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Riverside.

Velázquez López, Antolín
(2011) Geografía y Territorio: patrón de asentamiento del sitio arqueológico Cival, Petén Guatemala. Tesis de Licenciado en Arqueología, Escuela de Historia, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, Guatemala.

2009

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Estrada-Belli, Francisco, Alexandre Tokovinine, Jennifer Foley, Hurst Heather, Gene A. Ware, David Stuart, and Nikolai Grube
(2009) A Maya Palace at Holmul, Peten, Guatemala and the Teotihuacan “Entrada”: Evidence from Murals 7 and 9. Latin American Antiquity 20(1):228-259. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1045663500002595

Academic Publications

2009 Research Report (in Spanish)

Tomasic, John J.
(2009) Investigating Terminal Preclassic and Classic Period Power and Wealth at K'o, Guatemala. PhD dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville.

2008

Academic Publications

2008 Research Report (in Spanish)

Callaghan, Michael G.
(2008) Technologies of Power: Ritual Economy and Ceramic Production in the Terminal Preclassic Period Holmul Region, Guatemala. PhD dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville.

Media Coverage

Inside Geographic: Mysteries of the Maya
(2008) National Geographic Magazine. August 214(2):152-156.

2007

Academic Publications

2007 Research Report (in Spanish)

2007 Research Report (La Sufricaya) (in English)

Media Coverage

Gugliotta, Guy
(2007) Maya: How a Great Culture Rose and Fell. National Geographic Magazine. August 212(2):68-73.

2006

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Estrada-Belli, Francisco
(2006) Lightning Sky, Rain, and the Maize God: the Ideology of Preclassic Maya Rulers at Cival, Peten, Guatemala. Ancient Mesoamerica 17(1):57-78. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0956536106060068

Media Coverage

Schliemanns Erben: In den Todeskammern der Maya (The Heirs of Schliemann: In the death chambers of the Maya) (ZDF-TV Film, 2/26/2006) (Full Episode, in German)

Fra Giungla e Narcos Ancora da Scoprire Decine di citta Maya (Between Jungle and Narcos Still to be Discovered Dozens of Mayan cities) (Il Giornale, 7/20/2006)

2005

Academic Publications

2005 Research Report, Part 1 (in Spanish)

2005 Research Report, Part 2 (in Spanish)

Bauer, Jeremy R., Ángel Castillo, Daniel Leonard, Mónica Antillón, Antolín Velásquez, Jennifer, M. Johnson, and Joel Zovar
(2005) El Pasado Preclásico y monumental de de la región de Holmul: Resultados de las temporadas de campo 2003 y 2004 en Cival, Petén. In: XVIII Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 2004, J.P Laporte, B. Arroyo, and H. Mejía (eds.), pp. 194-205. Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología, Guatemala.

Estrada-Belli, Francisco
(2005) Cival, La Sufricaya, and Holmul: The Long History of Maya Political Power and Settlement in the Holmul Region. In: Archaeological Investigations in the Eastern Maya Lowlands: Papers of the 2004 Belize Archaeology Symposium, J. Awe, J. Morris, S. Jones, and C. Helmke (eds), pp. 193-207. Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize.

Foley, Jennifer
(2005) En busca de la población del Clásico Temprano en La Sufricaya, Petén. In: XVIII Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 2004, J.P Laporte, B. Arroyo, and H. Mejía (eds.), pp. 206-215. Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología, Guatemala.

2004

Academic Publications

2004 Research Report (in Spanish)

Estrada-Belli, Francisco, and Jennifer Foley
(2004) Arqueología e historia de enlaces geo-políticos: El Clásico Temprano en La Sufricaya. In: XVII Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 2003, J.P. Laporte, B. Arroyo, H. Escobedo, and H. Mejía (eds.), pp. 843-851. Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología, Guatemala.

Estrada-Belli, Francisco, Judith Valle, Chris Hewitson, Marc Wolf, Jeremy Bauer, Molly Morgan, Juan Carlos Pérez, James Doyle, Edy Barrios, Ángel Chávez, and N. Neivens
(2004) Teledetección, patrón de asentamiento e historia en Holmul, Petén. In: XVII Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 2003, J.P. Laporte, B. Arroyo, H. Escobedo, and H. Mejía (eds.), pp. 67-80. Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología, Guatemala.

Media Coverage

Mayan discovery points to sophisticated society (CNN, 5/5/2004)

Archeologia: nuove scoperte sui Maya (Archeology: new discoveries about the Maya) (Corriere della Sera, 5/5/2004)

Scoperta la più antica città Maya: "Costretti a riscrivere la storia" (Discovery of the oldest Mayan city: "Forced to rewrite history") (La Repubblica, 5/5/2004)

Ancient Mayan community may have been a city (USA Today, 5/5/2004)

Discovery Pushes Back Date of ‘Classic’ Maya (NY Times, 5/5/2004)

Maya culture 'ahead of its time' (BBC News, 5/8/2004)

Ancient Maya city, artifacts are research treasure-trove (USA Today, 5/10/2004)

Artifacts shed light on origins of Maya civilization (Vanderbilt Register, 6/9/2004)

New wheels for Vanderbilt archeology team (Vanderbilt Register, 11/8/2004)

2003

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Estrada-Belli, Francisco, Nikolai Grube, Marc Wolf, Kristen Gardella, Claudio Lozano Guerra-Librero, and Raul Archila
(2003) News from the Holmul Hinterland: Maya Monuments and Temples at Cival, Petén, Guatemala. Mexicon 25(2):59-61. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23759910

Academic Publications

2003 Research Report, Part 1 (in English and Spanish)

2003 Research Report, Part 2 (in English and Spanish)

2003 Research Report (Interim Report in English)

Grube, Nikolai
(2003) Monumentos jeroglíficos de Holmul, Petén, Guatemala. In: XVI Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 2002, J.P. Laporte, B. Arroyo, H. Escobedo, and H. Mejía (eds.), pp. 693-702. Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología, Guatemala.

2002

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Estrada-Belli, Francisco
(2002) Anatomía de una ciudad Maya: Holmul: Resultados de nuevas investigaciones arqueológicas en 2000 y 2001. Mexicon 24(5): 107-112. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23760367

Academic Publications

2002 Research Report (in English)

2001

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Estrada-Belli, Francisco
(2001) Maya Kingship at Holmul, Guatemala. Antiquity 75(290):685-686. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X0008916X

Kosakowsky, Laura J.
(2001) The Ceramic Sequence from Holmul, Guatemala: Preliminary Results from the Year 2000 Season. Mexicon 23(4):85-91. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23759818

Academic Publications

2001 Research Report (in English)

2000

Academic Publications

2000 Research Report (in Spanish)

2000 Research Report (in English, no ceramics report)