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Thomas Garrison

Assistant Professor (Teaching) of Anthropology and Spatial Sciences

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-1902
Office: GFS 120

Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. Anthropology, Harvard University, 6/2007
M.A. Anthropology, Harvard University, 11/2003
B.A. Anthropology, Connecticut College, 6/2000

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

My research interests are focused on the ancient Maya civilization of southern Mexico and Central America. I run an archaeological dig at the site of El Zotz, Guatemala where I am trying to determine how a relatively small Maya city-state fit into a complex geopolitical situation during the Classic Period (AD 300-900). Part of this research involves the excavation of a series of elaborately decorated early structures at the site that pertain to the time of the first rulers. Rather than treating these buildings individually, I consider the artistic program in terms of an urban landscape that was carefully planned and charged with meaning that reinforced the dynasty's right to rule. My other major research interest involves the application of digital spatial technologies in archaeology. I have been involved in developing the use of high resolution multispectral satellite imagery and radar elevation data to discover archaeological sites in dense sub-tropical forest environments. I continue to form partnerships with scholars in the fields of spatial sciences and remote sensing with the goal of finding new technologies to reduce the time and cost of conducting jungle survey.

Research Specialties

Maya archaeology, Mesoamerican archaeology, settlement patterns, GIS, remote sensing, landscape archaeology, monumental architecture

Multimedia Scholarship and Creative Works

Blog Post, El Zotz: An Archaeological Gem in the Guatemalan Jungle. World Monuments Fund Journal., 05/2013-  
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