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College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Jason Yaeger, Ph.D.

UTSA President's Endowed Professor and Chair

Department of Anthropology

Research area: Archaeology

Email: jason.yaeger@utsa.edu

Phone: (210) 458-7966

Office: MH 4.03.38B

Research in Progress

I am an anthropological archaeologist who studies Mesoamerican and Andean civilizations, particularly the Maya and Inka. My research interests include the organization of ancient households and communities, urbanism, landscapes and environments, the relationship between climate change and culture change, material culture and identity, ethnohistory, the politics of archaeological research, and Maya epigraphy and iconography.

Much of my research has sought to understand the organization of Classic Maya rural communities and the practices, institutions, and constructs that linked rural householders into extra-community socio-political entities. I have surveyed the countryside in Belize's Mopan River valley, mapped hundreds of houses and agricultural terraces, and excavated several rural houses in detail. My investigations also have taken me to the larger centers like Xunantunich, where I excavated monumental temples and palaces. My current research project focuses on documenting the changing relationships between Xunantunich and the rival center of Buenavista and understanding how competition between these two polities impacted the people who lived in the intervening countryside.

I have directed two other projects recenty that addressed broadly similar questions but in different contexts. The multi-disciplinary San Pedro Maya Project combined archival research, oral histories, and archaeological investigations to understand how Maya immigrants from Mexico were incorporated into colonial British Honduras in the 19th century. The Tiwanaku Inka Settlement Program examined how the Inka Empire reconfigured sacred space at the ancient city of Tiwanaku to fit their religion and world view and to legitimize their dominion over their provinces.

Honors and Awards: UTSA President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Advancing Globalization (2017), Richard S. Howe Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, UTSA (2014).


Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2000


I enjoy teaching, and I use a variety of media and methods to teach students what we know about the past, how we know it, and how it can help us understand ourselves and the world around us. My research strengthens my teaching, as I bring to the classroom the most recent interpretations and data from my research, as well as first-hand accounts of fieldwork and the process of interpreting archaeological data. I teach a variety of courses, from large introductory lecture courses, to small graduate and undergraduate seminars, and a summer archaeological field school in Belize. These include introductory courses on archaeology and more advanced courses on Maya and Mesoamerican civilizations, ancient complex societieis, indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica, and the ethnohistory and historical archaeology of New Spain.

Prospective students: I am accepting MA and Ph.D. students. My current research in Belize holds particular opportunities for students who are interested in LiDAR, remote sensing, and settlement survey; the organization of Maya hinterland households and communities; Maya warfare and conflict; and the relationships between the human-environment interface and socio-political change.   Students with other research foci are also welcome to apply, as are those who have other fieldwork sites for their thesis or dissertation research. 

Current Ph.D. students: Rebecca Friedel, Tiffany Lindley, Rebecca Morris, Michael Petrozza, Sebastian Salagdo-Flores, Jason Whitaker

Current MA students: Mark Eli

Representative Publications

2017 Designs on/of the Land: Competing Visions, Displacement, and Landscape Memory in British Colonial Honduras.  (C. Kray, M.C. Church & J. Yaeger)  In Legacies of Space and Intangible Heritage:  Archaeology, Ethnohistory, and the Politics of Cultural Continuity in the Americas, edited by F. Armstrong-Fumero & J. Hoil Gutierrez, pp. 53–78.  University Press of Colorado. 

2016   Locating and Dating Sites using LiDAR Survey in a Mosaic Landscape in Western Belize  (J. Yaeger, M.K. Brown & B. Cap)  Advances in Archaeological Practice 4(3):339–56.

2015 Two Early Classic Elite Burials from Buenavista del Cayo, Belize.  (J. Yaeger, M.K. Brown, C. Helmke, M. Zender, B. Cap, C. Kokel Rodriquez & S. Batty)  Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 12:181–191.

2014 Assessing the Great Maya Droughts: Some Critical Issues. (G. Iannone, J. Yaeger & D. Hodell) In The Great Maya Droughts in Cultural Context: Case Studies in Resilience and Vulnerability, edited by G. Iannone, pp. 52–70. University Press of Colorado, Boulder. 

2013 A Radiocarbon Chronology of the Pumapunku Complex and a Reassessment of the Development of Tiwanaku, Bolivia. (J. Yaeger & A. Vranich) In Advances in Titicaca Archaeology II, ed. by A. Vranich, E. Klarich, & A. Levine, pp. 131–50.  UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, Los Angeles. 

2010 Classic Maya Provincial Politics: Xunantunich and its Hinterlands (edited by L.J. LeCount & J. Yaeger) University of Arizona Press, Tucson.  

2000 The Archaeology of Communities: A New World Perspective (edited by M.A. Canuto & J. Yaeger) Routledge Press, London.


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Main Office: MH 4.03.38

Department of Anthropology

University of Texas at San Antonio

College of Liberal and Fine Arts

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San Antonio, TX 78249-1644