Project Director: Jerald Ek
Jerald Ek is an anthropological archaeologist with primary research interests in urbanism and human-environmental dynamics in complex societies. His research focuses on the function and development of cities, adaptive cycles in complex state societies, the catalysts and aftermath of sociopolitical collapse, and the recursive relationship between human societies and the landscape. Jerry completed his PhD in archaeology at the State University of New York at Albany, and currently is a faculty member at Western Washington University.
Jerry has served as director of two research projects. The Champotón Regional Settlement Survey was a multi-year regional research project that examined political, economic, and social changes associated with the Classic Maya collapse in the Río Champotón drainage in Campeche, Mexico. He also is the director and coordinator of the Mesoamerican Archaeological Settlement Database project, a GIS-based comparative database of settlement patterns, urban planning, and human ecology from sites across Mesoamerica. He is currently developing a new project that will examine the same issues of human-environmental dynamics and urbanism in southern Campeche.
Jerald D. Ek
Numerous individuals contributed to the realization of this project. The CRSS would not have been a success without the generous support William Folan, Lynda Florey Folan, Jose Antonio Hernández Trujeque, María del Rosario Domínguez Carrasco, and other colleagues at the Centro de Investigaciones Históricas y Sociales, Universidad Autónoma de Campeche. William and Lynda’s contribution permeated all levels of this project. José Antonio Hernández Trujeque and his family were instrumental in providing logistical and social support from the start of the project. The Hernández family went far beyond the norms of collegiality, and made my time in Champotón an absolute pleasure.
Marilyn Masson was the first person to stoke my interest in the topics of the Classic Maya Collapse and the Classic/Postclassic transition in general and the Gulf Coast periphery of the Maya Lowlands in particular. I’d also like to thank the members of my dissertation committee - Michael Smith, William Folan, and Robert Rosenswig - for providing useful feedback and inspiring me strive to the same high standards of excellence they have reached in their own careers.
Josalyn Ferguson made a major contribution to all aspects of this project, including the planning, fieldwork, and laboratory analysis phases of the research. Donald Forsyth and Wilberth Cruz Alvarado were instrumental in the ceramic analysis. Geoffrey Braswell’s contribution to the obsidian source analysis was a central component in the economic aspects of the research. José Antonio Hernández Trujeque, Roberto Rosado Ramírez, Sean O’Brien, Matthew Sargis, Morgan Houston, Ben Kelsey, and Felix Arcoha Gómez contributed to the CRSS laboratory and fieldwork. In addition to those named above, Tomas Arnabar Gunam, Alan Danvers, Jose Luis Hernández Trujeque, Isabel Hernández Ceballos, Marisa Hernández Trujeque, and Paola Hernández Trujeque made notable contributions to the success of this project.
I would like to thank the members of each community in which I had the pleasure of working during the course of the project, including Champotón, Ulumal, Paraiso, Villa de Guadalupe, Villa Madero, and El Zapote. I am indebted to everyone who made me feel like a part of their respective communities.
The Champotón Regional Settlement Survey was undertaken with the permission and support of the Consejo de Arqueología and Centro INAH Campeche, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Rafeal Cobos Palma, Luis Fernando Álvarez Aguilar, Elena Canche Manzanero, and Vicente Suárez Aguilar are some of the myriad people who helped contribute to this project. Institutional support was provided by the Universidad Autónoma de Campeche and the State Univeristy of New York at Albany.
Funding for the project was provided by the National Science Foundation, the IIE Fulbright Program, Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc., Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, and University at Albany.