Latin American Program

Departmental field and lab programs include ongoing research in Peru, conducted by Jean Hudson; analyses of ceramics from the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, conducted by Jason Sherman; as well as past field projects in two regions of Mexico: southern Quintana Roo, co-directed by Laura Villamil and Jason Sherman, and Puebla, conducted by Melvin Fowler (emeritus) and John Richards.


Ongoing Mesoamerican research includes a long-term collaborative study of the relationship between the regional ceramic economy and political organization in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, during the later Formative periods (700 BC-AD 200). Specifically, the study focuses on economic interaction and integration between sites and regions of the valley, and how the production and distribution of ceramics were shaped by inter-polity conflict, social negotiation, and the formation of the Monte Albán state.

The recently completed Proyecto Arqueológico Centro de Quintana Roo included several years of survey, excavation, and lab research at Margarita, a Preclassic to Classic Maya site located in southern Quintana Roo, Mexico—an important but under-studied region of the Maya Lowlands. Graduate and undergraduate students helped supervise excavations at Margarita and analyzed many of the materials recovered during the field research.

UWM graduate students have also conducted thesis research on various Mesoamerican collections, including Formative pottery from the Valley of Oaxaca and Puebla, Mexico; Maya pottery from the Guatemalan Highlands housed at the Milwaukee Public Museum; and Lowland Maya figurines from Belize.

Recent Theses

Price, Cheri
To Temper or Not to Temper: A Petrographic Textural Study of Clays and Formative Ceramic Sherds from the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico (MS, 2016). Advisor: J. Sherman.

Freeman, Allyse
Investigating Sociopolitical Complexity through the Presentation of Food: An Analysis of Middle to Late Formative Ceramics from Amalucan, Mexico (MS, 2014). Advisor: J. Sherman.

Zweig, Christina
The Formative Ceramic Figurine Collection from the Site of Cahal Pech, Cayo, Belize (MS, 2010). Advisor: J. Sherman.