Antonia Foias receives NSF grant

The National Science Foundation has announced the award of $126,194 to Antonia E. Foias, assistant professor of anthropology at Williams College. The grant will support her study, “Testing Economic Models of the Classic Maya Civilization at Motul de San Jose, Peten, Guatemala.”

The project is a multi-year, interdisciplinary study that seeks to provide an understanding of the economic organization of Classic Maya civilization by focusing on the Central Peten community of Motul de San Jose. It will also address the question of variability in the Maya political structure across time and space. The objective for the 1999-2000 field season is to examine large-scale distribution of economic activities and to understand the elite control over economic production and exchange.

Foias’ areas of interest include cultural evolution, complex societies and collapse of civilizations, concentrating on Mesoamerica (especially Maya), South America (especially Andes) and Mesopotamia.

Foias received her B.A. in anthropology from Harvard University in 1987 and her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt in 1994. Her dissertation documented the economic aspects of the Classic Maya collapse.

She spent two seasons in 1993 and 1994 as field sub-director and lab director of excavations of a palace group at Tamarindito in Guatemala. During 1993, she was also field supervisor of the Montiel Project in Guatemala, which documented the last modern workshop producing majolica pottery typical of the Colonial period in Central America.