College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Jason Yaeger, Ph.D.

UTSA President's Endowed Professor

Department of Anthropology

Research area: Archaeology


Phone: (210) 458-7966

Office: MH 4.01.23j

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: Anthony DeLuca, Rebecca Morris, Michael Petrozza, Sebastián Salgado-Flores, Jason Whitaker

Current MA Students: Mark Eli

Representative Publications

2020     Collapse, Transformation, Reorganization: The Terminal Classic Transition in the Maya World. In The Maya World, edited by S. Hutson & T. Ardren, pp. 777–93. Routledge.

2020     Monumental Landscapes, Changing Ideologies, and Political Histories in the Mopan Valley (M.K. Brown & J. Yaeger) In Approaches to Monumental Landscapes of the Ancient Maya, ed. by B.A. Houk, B. Arroyo & T.G. Powis, pp. 290–312. University Press of Florida.

2020     Landscapes of Strategic Mobility in Central America: San Pedro Siris during the Caste War. (M.C. Church, C. Kray, & J. Yaeger) In Handbook of the Archaeology of Indigenous-Colonial Interaction in the Americas, edited by L.M. Panich and S.L. Gonzalez. Routledge.

2018     Inca Sacred Landscapes in the Titicaca Basin. (J. Yaeger & J.M. Lopez Bejarano) In The Oxford Handbook of the Incas, ed. by S. Alconini & A. Covey, pp. 541–57. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

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.

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

One UTSA Circle

San Antonio, TX 78249-1644