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Department of Anthropology

Contact Information

phone: 615- 322-7524
105A Garland Hall


Ph.D. Harvard University

Arthur Demarest

Ingram Professor, Anthropology
Director, Vanderbilt Institute of Mesoamerican Archaeology; General Editor VIMA Monographs in Archaeology

Professor Demarest's interests, research, and publications are on the Maya, Olmec, Aztec, and Inca civilizations; PreColumbian religion, ritual, and ideology; the collapse of civilizations; anthropological and philosophical theory; indigenous rights and development; ethics. He is completing his twenty sixth field season as a project director in Central America, currently excavating the ancient Maya port city of Cancuen and exploring the sites along the ancient Maya trade routes. Professor Demarest's publications include over a hundred articles and twenty books and monographs – most recently Ancient Maya: The Rise and Fall of a Rainforest Civilization (Cambridge 2004) and The Petexbatun Regional Archaeological Project: A Multidisciplinary Study of the Classic Maya Collapse (Vanderbilt 2006).

In recognition of his teaching and training of new Ph.D.'s in archaeology, Professor Demarest has received the Order of the Matt, Guatemala's Archaeology Career Leadership Award, as well as an honorary doctorate from the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. In 2004, in recognition of his work in community development, archaeology, and education he was awarded the Orden Nacional del Patrimonio Cultural by the President of the Republic of Guatemala. His work in archaeology and development and the Vanderbilt regional system of Q'eqchi Maya community-managed archaeological sites and parks have been honored by awards and exhibitions in New York, Scandanavia, and Brazil. His archaeological discoveries have been covered this year in National Geographic (Aug 2007) and American Archaeology (Oct 2006) and Professor Demarest was recently profiled in Science (Sept 2006).