Distinguished Speaker Series:

Michael Callaghan

Brigette Kovacevich

Michael Callaghan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology

Brigitte Kovacevich, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.
Tuscawilla Country Club
1500 Winter Springs Blvd.,
Winter Springs, FL 32708

Click here to RSVP

Abstract: Artifacts, hieroglyphs, architecture and art have allowed archaeologists to reconstruct the lifeways and worldview of the Classic period Maya who inhabited the tropical lowlands of Mesoamerica from AD 250-900.  However, the story of Maya civilization begins almost one thousand years earlier in a shadowy and poorly understood past.

Drs. Callaghan and Kovacevich will discuss new evidence uncovered at the Maya site of Holtun that suggests social inequality first began with communal ritual and feasting activities associated with monumental astronomical observatories around 1000 BC. Then towards the end of the Preclassic period political strategies shifted to a focus on conflict, warfare, and violence. This shift is evidenced in monumental stucco sculptures, early writing, burials, and some of the earliest graffiti depicting nude captives and scenes of sacrifice.

Biography: Michael Callaghan is an assistant professor of archaeology at UCF. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. He is an anthropological archaeologist who studies Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican societies in an effort to understand the origins of social complexity. His research focuses on the emergence of complexity as it relates to community ritual, social inequality, craft specialization and long distance exchange. He specializes in the study of the ancient Maya with an emphasis on ceramic analysis. He is interested in how ceramic technology, the organization of production systems, and exchange of ceramic vessels contributed to the growth of social complexity. His research is important to scholars who study prehistoric complex societies and who are trying to understand how technology and production contribute to changes in social structure.

Brigitte Kovacevich is an assistant professor of archaeology at UCF. She received her B.A. from the University of Arizona and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to UCF, 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.