Claire Ebert

  • Assistant Professor

Claire Ebert is an environmental archaeologist whose research focuses on the complex dynamics between people and their local ecologies throughout the Holocene in Mesoamerica. This includes examining how humans adapted to environmental change and extreme climate shifts, and the roles of social and environmental diversity in the development of social-political complexity. She is a co-director of the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance (BVAR) Project and offers graduate and undergraduate student research opportunities in the field in Belize and in the Paleoecology and Isotope Geochemistry Lab. Her current projects include exploring the ecology and subsistence practices of Archaic and Formative Maya farmers, examining human-dog relationships in Maya communities, lidar remote sensing analyses and survey in western Belize, and pottery and obsidian geochemical sourcing analyses. She is also motivated by the potential of comparative archaeology to develop models of past human-environment interaction among early agricultural societies globally and has participated in archaeological projects in the US Southwest and Croatia.

Prospective Students

I will be accepting student at Ph.D. level interested in applying environmental archaeology, human ecology, and/or stable isotope analysis to research questions within Mesoamerican archaeology or in other geographic regions. Students are also welcome to design studies related to current projects the Paleoecology and Isotope Geochemistry lab related to questions about ecological change, diet, and commensal relationships between people, plants, and/or other animals.



  • Mesoamerica Before Cortez (taught annually in spring)
  • Environmental Archaeology
  • Unraveling the Anthropocene (upcoming Fall 2021)
  • Floods, Famine, and Flus: Archaeology of Disaster (upcoming Fall 2021)
  • Stable Isotope Analyses in Archaeology (upcoming Spring 2022)

Recent Publications

Ebert, Claire E., Asta Rand, Kirsten Green-Mink, Julie A. Hoggarth, Carolyn Freiwald, Jaime J. Awe, Willa R. Trask, Jason Yaeger, M. Kathryn Brown, Christophe Helmke, Rafael Guerra, Marie Danforth and Douglas J. Kennett. Sulfur Isotopes as a Proxy for Human Diet and Mobility from the Preclassic through Colonial periods in the Eastern Maya Lowlands. PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0254992.

Ebert, Claire E., James McGee, and Jaime J. Awe, 2021. Early Monumentality in the Belize River Valley: Excavations of a Preclassic E-Group at Cahal Pech, Belize. Latin American Antiquity 32:209-217.

Ebert, Claire E. and Jaime J. Awe, 2020. Who were the Early Preclassic Maya?: Reassessing key questions about the origins of village life in the Belize River Valley. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 17:273-286.

Ebert, Claire E., Julie A. Hoggarth, Brendan J. Culleton, Jaime J. Awe and Douglas J. Kennett, 2019. The role of diet in resilience and vulnerability to climate change among early agricultural communities in the Maya Lowlands. Current Anthropology 60(4):589-601.

Ebert, Claire E., Daniel Pierce and Jaime J. Awe, 2019. Preclassic ceramic economy in Belize: neutron activation analyses at Cahal Pech. Antiquity 93:1266-1283.

Ebert, Claire E., Nancy Peniche May, Brendan J. Culleton, Jaime J. Awe and Douglas J. Kennett, 2017. Regional response to drought during the formation and decline of Preclassic Maya societies. Quaternary Science Reviews 173:211-235.

You can find a full list of publication and links to the papers here.