Professor to present findings about the first settlers of highland Guatemala

Dr. Barbara Arroyo will discuss the results of recent archaeological excavations in highland Guatemala in a presentation at Lycoming College on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. The lecture will be held in the Mary L. Welch Honors Hall on the corner of Fourth and Basin streets. The event is free and open to the public.

Her presentation, “Learning about the Ancient Maya Highlands: Recent Research at Naranjo and Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala,” focuses on the development of these regional centers as important Mesoamerican cities during the pre-Hispanic period. Archaeological research during the last decade has uncovered important information about the earliest settlers of the Maya highlands at the sites of Naranjo and Kaminaljuyu.

Arroyo details the regional interactions of these two cities, one of which, Kaminaljuyu, is mostly buried by modern Guatemala City. A permanent research program at Kaminaljuyu has also uncovered data on the advances of this important center, rooted on the development of a sophisticated hydraulic system for the city’s evolution beginning around 1000 BCE and continuing into 800 CE.

Arroyo is the coordinator for the Kaminaljuyu Archaeological Zone at the Direccion General de Patrimonio Cultural y Natural in Guatemala.

She has an active project at the site of Kaminaljuyu where she trains students in fieldwork and laboratory analysis. She has carried out research on the Pacific Coast and Maya highlands during the last 20 years, including sites in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Her research interest focuses on the origins of sedentary villages, ceramics, social complexity and monumental sculpture.

This summer, Arroyo received the prestigious Orden del Pop award from the Museum Popol Vuh, for research that contributes significantly to the preservation and dissemination of Guatemala’s cultural heritage.

Arroyo received her licenciatura in archaeology in 1987 and obtained a doctorate in anthropology at Vanderbilt University in 1994. She is a board member of the Society for American Archaeology and a senior fellow at Dumbarton Oaks.

The lecture is sponsored by the James and Emily Douthat lectureship in the liberal arts and sciences, named for James Douthat, former president of Lycoming College, and his wife Emily, for their years of service to the college.

The annual lecture, which is not field specific, attracts top scholarly guest speakers to the college. Lycoming’s chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, a national honor society for all academic disciplines, organizes the lectureship.