I am an archaeologist and Associate Professor.  I focus on the study of Mesoamerican complex societies with an emphasis on the ancient Maya.  My primary area of methodological study is ceramic analysis. I currently conduct archaeological research at the ancient Maya site of Holtun, Guatemala.  With artifacts recovered from Holtun, I am using type-variety: mode classification, optical microscopy, petrographic analysis, Handheld X-ray Florescence (XRF) analysis, Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA), and experimental ceramic production to inform scholarship about the relationship between ceramics and cultural process.

Working with Dr. Callaghan:

Michael Callaghan

I believe advanced undergraduate and professional degrees in archaeology should:

  • Expose students to fundamental theoretical concepts in anthropology and archaeology
  • Teach students a transferable methodological specialization
  • Give students experience in first-hand data collection, analysis, and interpretation
  • Professionally prepare students for a career within, or related to, the archaeological sciences

I am seeking motivated students with a desire to conduct primary field and/or laboratory research related to the ancient Maya.  Students who choose to work with me will have the opportunity to perform research at field sites in the Maya area and/or in the laboratory here at UCF.  I hope to guide students in the creation of theoretically informed theses founded upon the analysis and interpretation of an original dataset of archaeological material.  Students will have the opportunity to conduct archaeological research; write, present, and publish archaeological papers; and network with international colleagues and senior members of the Maya archaeological community.

Dr. Callaghan is looking for graduate students with an interest in:

  • Maya archaeology
  • Production and exchange
  • Ceramic classification, analysis, and interpretation
  • Experimental ceramic production
  • Ceramic ethnoarchaeology

Examples of research projects conducted by Dr. Callaghan’s students:

  • Archaeological ceramic classification using the type-variety: mode system
  • Attribute analysis (paste, form, finishing, and firing) of archaeological ceramics
  • Handheld XRF analysis of archaeological ceramics
  • Stereoscopic and petrographic analyses of archaeological ceramics
  • Iconographic analysis of ancient Maya pottery
  • Ethnoarchaeology with contemporary Maya potters in Guatemala
  • Mapping and GIS analysis of Maya archaeological sites
  • Osteological analyses of Maya archaeological skeletal collections
  • Handheld XRF analysis of obsidian from Maya archaeological sites


Callaghan & Castillo
Holtun sherds
Crystalline in calcite
Kovacevich and personnel
Callaghan & Crawford
Callaghan elevation
Rodrigo shelter
Looters tunnel
Painted mask
Jaguar fang
2011 Project Pic