College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Jason Yaeger, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair

Department of Anthropology

Research area: Archaeology


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.


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.

Recent Publications

2010 - Classic Maya Provincial Politics: Xunantunich and Its Hinterlands, edited by Lisa J. LeCount and Jason Yaeger. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

2010 - The San Pedro Maya and the British Colonial Enterprise in British Honduras: 'We may have a perfectly harmless and well affected inhabitant turned into a designing and troublesome neighbor'. Minette C. Church, Jason Yaeger, and Jennifer Doman. In The Archaeology of 'Backsliders, Rebels, and Idolaters': Reconsidering Indigenous Resistance to Spanish Colonialism, edited by Matthem Liebmann and Melissa S. Murcphy. School of Advanced Research Press, Santa Fe.

2009 - Complex Ecologies: Human and Animal Responses to Ancient Landscape change in Central Belize. Jason Yaeger and Carolyn Freiwald. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 6:82-91.

2008 - The Collapse of Maya Civilization: Assessing the Interaction of Culture, Climate, and Environment. Jason Yaeger and David Hodell. In El Niño, Catastrophism, and Culture Change in Ancient America, edited by Daniel H. Sandweiss and Jeffrey Quilter, pp. 197-251. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC.

2000 - The Archaeology of Communities: A New World Perspective, edited by Marcelo A. Canuto and Jason 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

One UTSA Circle

San Antonio, TX 78249-1644