Julie A. Hoggarth, PhD

Assistant Professor
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Research in Progress

My research applies an interdisciplinary approach that integrates history, demography, archaeology, and climate research to understand the impacts of abrupt climatic change from the Classic to Colonial Periods in the Maya Lowlands. Over the past several years, I have worked to compile archaeological and historic datasets from across the region to understand the effects of prehistoric and historic drought episodes on agricultural production and health for Maya populations. My new project (funded by the National Science Foundation) focuses on developing a high-resolution radiocarbon chronology for the Belize Valley, based at the sites of Baking Pot and Cahal Pech. Ultimately, this project aims to identify chronological correlations (or lack thereof) between episodes of severe drought from the ninth to eleventh centuries with precisely dated archaeological evidence for political and demographic collapse. I am currently working to develop comparative methods for investigating archaeological examples where climate has impacted prehistoric societies. Identifying causal relationships is integral to this goal and my current work is strongly focused on chronology building. As such, I am developing the Archaeometry and Radiocarbon Sample Preparation Laboratory, which will offer analytical services for the preparation of organic samples for radiocarbon dating and isotopic measurement.

Please visit the following websites:

Degrees

PhD in Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, 2012

Teaching

As an anthropological archaeologist, my teaching seeks to cultivate an understanding of the distinct ways of life of ancient populations, identified through a lens of cultural process. My teaching integrates interdisciplinary approaches and examples to highlight the diverse information and tools that archaeologists use in their research, including paleoenvironmental reconstructions, historical texts, art history, geoscience studies, and biochemistry and associated analytical methods.

My teaching emphasizes students learning practical critical thinking skills through an exploration of real archaeological datasets and examples. In this manner, students learn the steps to conduct archaeological research, construct their own archaeological research designs, analyze data, and interpret archaeological contexts to describe results of their own and others’ analyses. These skills include basic archaeological field and laboratory methods, such as setting up archaeological units, drawing profile and plan view maps, using a compass, and classifying artifacts (Introduction to Archaeology). More advanced skills include developing basic quantitative methods to answer distinct research questions about cultural change. For example, students in Ancient Civilizations of Mesoamerica analyze real archaeological datasets on artifact totals excavated from a site in Oaxaca, Mexico, tabulate the artifact counts, and use those data to answer questions about the origins of social inequality in Formative Mesoamerica. In the same course, students examine maps on settlement patterns of the Valley of Mexico to reconstruct settlement hierarchies, answering questions about the nature of state formation. Students in Environmental Archaeology use information from paleoecological and archaeological databases to explore questions on the nature of human-environmental relationships across time and space. Together, these examples highlight my commitment to actively engage students, to challenge them to explore real empirical datasets, and to integrate information from a variety of different fields to answer questions about the human past through an anthropological lens.

I believe that all students interested in archaeology should participate archaeological field school training. I have mentored dozens of students for more than a decade through my archaeological field school in Belize, with many former students going to on graduate school and employment in Cultural Resource Management. Students interested in gaining archaeological field experience in Belize can find additional information at the website above. I am especially interested in working with students with interests in Mesoamerican archaeology, societal collapse, paleoclimate and ancient civilization, environmental archaeology, radiocarbon dating, and human paleoecology.

Recent Publications

Helmke C, JA Hoggarth, JJ Awe, S Bednar, A Lopez Johnson. 2017. Some Initial Comments on the Komkom Vase and its Discovery at Baking Pot, Belize. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 14:227-240.

Hoggarth JA, M Restall, JW Wood, and DJ Kennett. 2017. Drought and its Demographic Effects in the Maya Lowlands. Current Anthropology 58(1):82-113.

Awe JJ, JA Hoggarth, and JJ Aimers. 2017. Of Apples and Oranges: The Case of E-Groups and Eastern Triadic Architectural Assemblages in the Belize River Valley. In DA Freidel, AF Chase, A Dowd, and J Murdock (eds.), Early Maya E Groups, Solar Calendars, and the Role of Astronomy in the Rise of Lowland Maya Urbanism, pp. 412-449. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

Hanna JA, EA Graham, DM Pendergast, JA Hoggarth, DL Lentz, and DJ Kennett. 2016. A New Radiocarbon Sequence from Lamanai, Belize: Two Bayesian Models from One of Mesoamerica’s Most Enduring Sites. Radiocarbon 58(4):771-794.

Hoggarth JA, SFM Breitenbach, BJ Culleton, CE Ebert, MA Masson, and DJ Kennett. 2016. The Political Collapse of Chichén Itzá in Cultural and Climatic Context. Global and Planetary Change 138:25-42.

Hoggarth JA, and JJ Awe. 2015. Household Adaptation and Reorganization in the Aftermath of the Classic Maya Collapse at Baking Pot, Belize. In RK Faulseit (ed.) Beyond Collapse: Archaeological Perspectives on Resilience, Revitalization, and Reorganization in Complex Societies, pp. 853-886. Occasional Paper 42, Center for Archaeological Investigations. Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Hoggarth JA, BJ Culleton, JJ Awe, and DJ Kennett. 2014. Questioning Postclassic Continuity at Baking Pot, Belize, Using AMS 14C Direct Dating of Human Burials. Radiocarbon 56(3):1057-1075.