Link to enlarge vase K7784 © Justin Kerr Charles Zidar

Committee Members

This committee is being formed to lend valued opinions on the subject. If you would like to contribute your time and talent, please let us know. Click to view a list of Important Maya Plants currently under investigation.

Scott L. Fedick – is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside, and a Faculty Affiliate with the Department of Anthropology of Rhode Island College. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology (emphasis in Archaeology) from Arizona State University in 1988. Professor Fedick is the Director (with Dr. Jennifer Mathews of Trinity University) of the Yalahau Regional Human Ecology Project, which has, since 1993, has been investigating ancient Maya land use, agriculture, and settlement pattern in the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. He has also conducted archaeological investigations in Belize, Guatemala, and the Mexican state of Oaxaca, as well as research on use of plants by the ancient Hohokam of southern Arizona. He has authored numerous articles and book chapters on ancient Maya agricultural practices, including terracing, wetland cultivation, homegardens, tree cultivation systems, and use of biofertilizers. He also edited the volume The Managed Mosaic: Ancient Maya Agriculture and Resource Use, and was co-editor of The Lowland Maya Area: Three Millennia at the Human-Wildland Interface. His current research includes the investigation of soil genesis and it's implications for ancient agriculture in the northern Maya Lowlands (in collaboration with scientists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico), and the investigation of indigenous food-plants used by the Maya, which are known to number over 500 species.

Nicholas A. Hopkins – (PhD Chicago, 1967), Owner and Operator, Jaguar Tours, Tallahassee, Florida. Nick Hopkins is an anthropological linguist who has carried out extensive field work on Mesoamerican languages and cultures since 1960, with a focus on Mayan languages (principally Tzotzil, Chuj, and Chol). In 1964-65 he worked with Dennis Breedlove (California Academy of Sciences) in a study of plants and plant usage among the Chuj Maya (Wasmann Journal of Biology, 1970-1971). In the 1970s he directed a project on the ethnobotany of the Amuzgo (Oaxaca, Mexico) that resulted in several reports published by the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS), Mexico City. Most recently he is the author of "The place of maize in indigenous Mesoamerican folk taxonomies," in John E. Staller, Robert H. Tykot, and Bruce F. Benz, editors, Histories of Maize: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Prehistory, Biogeography, Domestication, and Evolution of Maize, Part II: Mesoamerica, Central and South America, pp. 611-622 (San Diego, CA: Elsevier/Academic Press, 2006).

W. Jeffrey Hurst – a Sr. Staff Scientist at the Hershey Company Technical Center. His emphases are in separation science using standard, micro and nanotechniques, laboratory automation, the evaluation of new and emerging analytical technologies, the development and evaluations of methods for the determination for food allergens and the application of nontraditional analytical methods to food analysis. He was the founding editor and editor in chief of Laboratory Robotics and Automation, an international journal with a focus on all facets of automation in the laboratory until it ceased publication. He is the founding editor of the Wiley-Interscience book series on laboratory automation serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Liquid Chromatography and was founding editor of Seminars in Food Analysis. He was a contributing editor for Scientific Computing and Instrumentation and prepared a monthly column on some aspect of instrument and laboratory operations. He is an author of over 200 papers and presentations. He has developed in excess of 175 methods using chromatography, spectroscopy, spectrometry, immunoassay and assorted analytical techniques on food, environmental and biological samples.

Barbara and Justin Kerr – are members of the Board of Directors of FAMSI. They have edited and published the six volumes of the Maya Vase Books: a Corpus of Rollout Photographs of Maya vases. Justin directs the online FAMSI databases; The Maya Vase Database and The Precolumbian Portfolio. He leads a workshop in the iconography of Maya Vases at the annual Texas Maya meetings.

David Lentz – an Executive Director of the Cincinnati Center for Field Studies. Before coming to Cincinnati, Dr. Lentz was Vice President of Scientific Affairs and Senior Scientist at the Chicago Botanic Garden. While in Chicago, he was adjunct professor at Northwestern University and was instrumental in creating a joint partnership between Northwestern and the Garden in the form of a new graduate program in Plant Biology and Conservation. Also during his tenure in Chicago, he served on the Science Advisory Committee of the Lake Forest Open Lands Association (2004-2006), on the Executive Council of Chicago Wilderness (2002-2005), and on the Chicagoland Biosphere Reserve Committee (2004). Before his move to Chicago, he was Director of Graduate Studies at the New York Botanical Garden. During his sojourn in New York, he held faculty positions at Columbia University, Yale University, NYU and the City University of New York. He has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed articles and previously edited a book entitled, Imperfect Balance: Landscape Transformations in the Precolumbian Americas, published by Columbia University Press in 2000. In 2005, a second book, Seeds of Central America and Southern Mexico, was released by New York Botanical Garden Press. He has been awarded several research fellowships and in 1996 he was elected Fellow of the Linnean Society of London. In 2006, he served as President of the Society for Economic Botany. His research interests focus on paleoecology, archaeobotany and the conservation of economic plants.

Dorie Reents-Budet – received a Ph.D. in art history (1985) and an M.A. (1980) in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.F.A. from the University of Northern Colorado where she majored in ceramics. Dr. Reents-Budet holds curatorial positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and The Mint Museums, Charlotte, NC. She is a research associate of the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. She is the art historian for the Maya Ceramics Project, formerly of Brookhaven National Laboratories and now under the aegis of the Smithsonian Institution.

Vania Smith-Oka – is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. She is a medical anthropologist who studies the effects of globalization on the lives of Nahua women in northern Veracruz. One of her current projects is an ethnobotanical study that looks at the continuation of Aztec plant classification and knowledge into the modern-day Nahua people's medical corpus.

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