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Loa Traxler

“Establishing the Dynastic House: The Founding and Early Evolution of the Copan Acropolis”

Loa Traxler

University of New Mexico, Pre-Columbian Studies Fellow

Extensive research at the Classic Maya kingdom of Copan, located in western Honduras, has uncovered the royal precinct of its Early Classic rulers and their contemporary historical monuments buried beneath the site’s massive Acropolis. Traxler’s research will synthesize the results of field investigations carried out by the University of Pennsylvania Museum, specifically focusing on the architectural development of two core areas within the Early Classic center: the royal palace compound established by the dynastic founder and the adjacent courtyards associated with the expansive royal court.

Loa Traxler received her doctorate in anthropological archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania, and her experience and publications reflect over thirty years of archaeological research, curation, and heritage management at sites throughout the world. Her primary research focuses on the architectural evolution of Classic Maya centers and the sociopolitical organization within these societies. As member of the Early Copan Acropolis Program (sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania Museum) from 1990 to 2013, she conducted field investigations documenting the architecture and associated burials, caches, and other primary deposits within the royal precinct of this Maya capital. Since 2013, she has been involved in new work combining material culture analyses with heritage preservation and public engagement in collaboration with Honduran government and nongovernmental partners.