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Rebecca Friedel

Rebecca Friedel

Plant Humanities Fellow, 2019–2020

Rebecca Friedel is currently a PhD candidate in anthropology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her research takes a multi-proxy approach to reconstructing a history of ancient Maya human-plant relationships in the Mopan River valley of Belize. This work has led to interdisciplinary collaborations with many research institutions, including the National Lacustrine Core Facility at the University of Minnesota and El Colegio de la Frontera Sur in Chetumal, Mexico. Friedel has been the project paleoethnobotanist for the Mopan Valley Archaeological and Preclassic Projects in Belize since 2013. As part of these projects, she has established a reference collection of modern plant parts, including leaves, wood, seeds, fruits, and pollen, to aid in the identification of ancient plant remains. Friedel has also coauthored and published an archaeologically informed, trilingual children’s book that features information about the importance of native plants and their uses. She is passionate about education and improving access to knowledge more broadly.