You are here:Home/Research/ Pre-Columbian Studies/ Fellows and Visiting Scholars/ The First Maya “Collapse”: The End of the Preclassic Period at El Palmar, Petén, Guatemala

The First Maya “Collapse”: The End of the Preclassic Period at El Palmar, Petén, Guatemala

James Doyle, Brown University, Junior Fellow 2011–2012

My dissertation on the Preclassic Maya Lowlands (ca. 1000 BC–AD 250) has benefited greatly from two semesters here at Dumbarton Oaks. The grounds and the Washington cityscape have been the perfect setting in which to investigate early Maya civic buildings, monumentalization of architecture, and urban planning. One would be hard pressed to find a more condensed core of collective building projects designed and implemented to invoke awe in viewers through imposing scale and elaborate decoration.

My fellowship began with the analysis and graphic presentation of artifact and excavation data from the site of El Palmar, Petén, Guatemala, where I conducted four field seasons of topographic mapping, archaeological and paleoenvironmental investigations, and GIS analysis, in conjunction with an international team of collaborators. This work also included submitting and subsequently revising articles accepted in Latin American Antiquity and Antiquity, the latter coauthored with Thomas Garrison and Stephen Houston. The dissertation at hand has begun to look more complete; I have drafts of all major chapters eagerly awaiting revision and conclusion. The library at Dumbarton Oaks has allowed me to address the broad area of the Maya Lowlands in such depth that would not have been possible elsewhere. The fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks has allowed me both to complete the PhD requirements in a timely manner and to lay the foundation for a more expansive work addressing a comprehensive history of the origins of Maya civilization.