Brigitte Kovacevich received her BA from the University of Arizona and PhD from Vanderbilt University in 2006. Before coming to UCF as Assistant Professor in 2015, she taught at Southern Methodist University, Yale University, and the University of Virginia. Her interests include the complex interplay between technology, power, economic systems, social action, and culture change in the past and present. She primarily carries out her research in Guatemala, but she has also worked in Mexico, Arizona, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Dr. Kovacevich’s recent research has investigated the efficiency of new sourcing techniques on jade and obsidian from Mesoamerica and how that can highlight changes in production and trade patterns. Future research will continue to focus on the household as a unit of production. Specifically this research will address how that unit was integrated into the political system at various times and regions in Mesoamerica, and how the household responded (changed or remained the same) in the face of political change and upheaval.

Research Specialization

Dr. Kovacevich’s research interests include Mesoamerican Archaeology, Household Archaeology, Lithic Analysis, Gender and Social Identity, and Nonindustrial Economic Systems. She is currently director of an archaeological project at the site of Holtun, Guatemala, located in the central lakes region of the department of the Peten, Guatemala. The site is situated approximately 35 km southwest of Tikal, 12 km to the south of Yaxha, and only 1 km from the present day village of La Maquina. The formal site of Holtun consists of a monumental epicenter built atop a natural karstic hill positioned along a roughly northeast-southwest linear axis. The approximate area of the epicenter is 970 x 815 m. The epicenter consists of 14 groups and nearly 100 structures and has an established Middle Preclassic through Late Classic period occupation (Fialko 1999, 2002; Ponciano 1995; Kovaceivch et al. 2010).

Goals of this research are to elucidate organization of political authority during a lesser known epoch in Maya prehistory, the Middle Preclassic period (600-300 BC). This is a time of great social change in the Maya lowlands that included the rise of social and political complexity, the first monumental architecture, and possibly the first kings. Many questions remain about this time period, why did the Maya begin to live in nucleated settlements and cities? Why and how did political power develop? And, how were these changes related to community ritual? Excavations are focused on the earliest ceremonial architecture at the site, as well as residential structures. This research has been generously funded by the National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation.


Fialko, Vilma

2002   Documentacion del Arte Escultorico y Pictorico de la Acropolis Triadica de Holtun, Peten. Manuscript in archive, DEMOPRE. IDAEH, PRONAT-TRIANGULO-DEMOPRE: Guatemala.

1999   Sangre, Sudor, y Lagrimas: Investigaciones de Arqueologia Regionalm no. 10, Holtun, Ixtinto, y La Naya. Manuscript in archive, PRONAT-TRIANGULO, IDAEH: Guatemala.


Kovacevich, Brigitte, Patricia Rivera Castillo, Michael G. Callaghan, and Melvin Rodrigo Guzman

2010   Proyecto Arqueologico Holtun. Informe, Temporada 2010. IDAEH, Guatemala.


Ponciano, Erick M.

1995   Recientes Descubrimientos en el Departamento de Petén: Sitio Arqueológico Holtun, Aldea La Máquina, Flores. En VIII Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 1994 (edited by J.P. Laporte and H. Escobedo), pp.484-492. Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología, Guatemala.

Download CV