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Lycoming College faculty member receives award from the Archaeological Institute of America

Lycoming College faculty member receives award from the Archaeological Institute of America

Dr. Jessica Munson (left) and project co-director Lorena Paiz contemplate the archaeology at Altar de Sacrificios. Photo credit: Kayla Everett ’19.

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Jessica Munson, assistant professor of archaeology and anthropology at Lycoming College, received the 2018 Best Poster Award from the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) at their annual meeting held Jan. 4-7, in Boston. Each year, the AIA presents awards to archaeologists, authors, educators and others whose work has positively affected the field of archaeology. The awards recognize the excellence of individuals and groups engaged in the pursuit of knowledge through archaeology or other related disciplines.

The poster, entitled “Measuring Quality of Life Changes in an Ancient Maya Community: Longitudinal Perspectives from Altar de Sacrificios, Guatemala,” tracks changes in wealth inequality over a 2000 year period by examining burial data from previous research and the 2016 and 2017 field seasons. Jonathan Scholnick, part time instructor of archaeology and anthropology at Lycoming College and a co-author on the poster, contributed to the statistical analysis. Lycoming students Jackie Croteau ’17, Jazmin Jones ’20 and Michaela Thode ’20 assisted with the data collection for the project.

The Altar de Sacrificios Archaeological Project is an international team of researchers, students and local community members working together to better understand the everyday experiences of ancient Maya people. Support for the project is provided by the AIA, the Rust Family Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation and Lycoming College.

“It is a great honor to receive this award from the AIA,” stated Munson. “We are just starting to generate some preliminary results from our first two field seasons at Altar de Sacrificios, so this recognition is very encouraging for our future research.”

The Lycoming College archaeology program allows students to analyze the physical remains of the past in pursuit of a comprehensive understanding of human culture. Students majoring in archaeology receive a solid foundation in the theories, methods, and diverse approaches that archaeologists use to answer important questions about cultural diversity and social change through time and across vast geographic regions. For more information on the archaeology program, please visit: