Claire Ebert

  • Assistant Professor

Claire Ebert is an archaeologist whose research focuses on the complex dynamics between people and their environments throughout the Holocene in Mesoamerica. This includes examining how humans adapted to climatic and environmental change and the roles of social and environmental diversity in creating complexity. She is particularly interested in the emergence of complexity among the earliest Maya agricultural communities, and the fluctuating environmental and climatic contexts in which they appeared. She also motivated by the potential of comparative archaeology to develop models of past human-environment among early agricultural societies globally and has participated in archaeological projects in the US Southwest and Croatia. 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 Pitt Anthropology Stable Isotope Lab. Her current research projects include exploring the stable isotope ecology of agriculture and development of isoscape models across western Belize, lidar remote sensing analyses and survey in the Belize River Valley, and pottery and obsidian geochemical sourcing analyses.


Awe, J.J., C. Helmke, J.J. Aimers, C.E. Ebert, W.J. Stemp, J.A, 2020. Hoggarth. Applying regional, contextual, ethnohistoric and ethnographic approaches for understanding the significance of peri-abandonment deposits in western Belize. Ancient Mesoamerica 31:109-126.

Awe, J.J., C.E. Ebert, J.A. Hoggarth, J.J. Aimers, J. Douglas, C. Helmke, W. J. Stemp, 2020. The last hurrah at Cahal Pech: Examining the nature of peri-abandonment deposits and activities in a Belize Valley center. Ancient Mesoamerica 31:175-187.

Ebert, C. E., 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.

Hoggarth, J.A., J.J. Awe, C.E. Ebert, R.A. Guerra, A. Beardall, T.B. Watkins, J.P. Walden, 2020. Thirty-two years of integrating archaeology and heritage management in Belize: a brief history of the BVAR Project’s research and public archaeology outreach programs. Heritage 3(3):699-732.

Akers, P.D., G.A. Brook, L.B. Railsback, A. Cherkinksy, F. Liang, C.E. Ebert, J.A. Hoggarth, J.A. Awe, H. Chang, R.L. Edwards, 2019. Integrating U-Th, 14C, and 210Pb methods to produce a chronologically reliable isotope record for the Belize River Valley Maya from a low-uranium stalagmite. The Holocene 29(7):1234-1248.

Ebert, C.E., J.A. Hoggarth, B.J. Culleton, J.J. Awe, D.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, C.E., D. Pierce, J.J. Awe, 2019. Preclassic ceramic economy in Belize: neutron activation analyses at Cahal Pech. Antiquity 93:1266-1283.

Helmke, C., C.E. Ebert, J.J. Awe, J.A. Hoggarth, 2019. The Lay of the Land: A Political Geography of an Ancient Maya Kingdom in West-central Belize. Contributions in New World Archaeology 12:9-54.

Ebert, C.E., J.J. Awe, 2018. Reconstructing ancient Maya household economies in the Belize River Valley. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 15:65-78.

Peniche May, N., J. J. Awe, C. E. Ebert, 2018. El intercambio en las sociedades mayas del preclasico medio: El caso de Cahal Pech en el Valle de Belice. In Evolución, Comervia, y Migración del Pueblo Maya: Meorias del Cuarto Simpsio de Cultura Maya Ichkaantijoo, edited by A. Góngora Salas, pp. 157-174. Media, Yucatan.

Awe, J.J., C.E. Ebert, C. Freiwald, K. Green, 2017. The dead do tell tales: Unravelling the case of Cahal Pech’s John or Jane Doe. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 14:213-225.

Ebert, C.E., N. Peniche May, B.J. Culleton, J.J. Awe, D.J. Kennett, 2017. Regional response to drought during the formation and decline of Preclassic Maya societies. Quaternary Science Reviews 173:211-235.

Prufer, K.M., A.E. Thompson, C.R. Meredith, B.J. Culleton, J.M. Jordan, C.E. Ebert, B. Winterhalder, D.J. Kennett, 2017. The Classic Period Maya transition from an ideal free to an ideal despotic settlement system at the polity of Uxbenká. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 45:53-68.

Wallgrün J.O., J. Huang, J. Zhao, C. Ebert, P. Roddy, J. Awe, T. Murtha, A. Klippel, 2017. Immersive technologies and experiences for archaeological site exploration and analysis. In Proceedings of workshops and posters at the 13th International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT 2017), edited by P. Fogliaroni, A. Ballatore, and E. Clementini, pp. 307-314. Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography. Springer, Cham, Switzerland.

Ebert, C.E., B.J. Culleton, J.J. Awe and D.J. Kennett, 2016. AMS 14C dating of Preclassic to Classic Period household construction in the ancient Maya community of Cahal Pech, Belize. Radiocarbon 58:69-87.

Ebert, C.E., J.A. Hoggarth, J.J. Awe, 2016. Classic period Maya water management and ecological adaptation in the Belize River Valley. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 13:109-119.

Ebert, C.E., J.A. Hoggarth, J.J. Awe, 2016. Integrating quantitative LiDAR analysis and settlement survey in the Belize River Valley. Advances in Archaeological Practice 4:284-300.

Hoggarth, J.A., S.F.M. Breitenbach, B.J. Culleton, C.E. Ebert, M.A. Masson, D. J. Kennett, 2016. The political collapse of Chichén Itzá in cultural and climatic context. Global and Planetary Change 138:25-42.

Awe, J.J., C.E. Ebert, J. A. Hoggarth, 2015. Three k’atuns of pioneering settlement research: Preliminary results of LiDAR survey in the Belize River Valley. In Breaking barriers: Proceedings of the 47th annual Chacmool Archaeological Conference, edited by Robyn Crook, Kim Edwards, and Colleen Hughes, pp. 57-75. University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.

Ebert, C.E., M. Dennison, K.G. Hirth, S.B. McClure, D.J. Kennett, 2015. Formative Period obsidian exchange along the Pacific Coast of Mesoamerica. Archaeometry 57(S1):54-73.

Ebert, C.E., K.M. Prufer, M.J. Macri, B. Winterhalder, D. J. Kennett, 2014. Terminal long count dates and the disintegration of Classic Period Maya polities. Ancient Mesoamerica 25:337-356.

Smith, C.B., C.E. Ebert, D. J. Kennett, 2014. Human ecology of shellfish exploitation at a prehistoric fishing-farming village on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 9:183-202.

Ebert, C.E., K.M. Prufer, D.J. Kennett, 2012. Maya monuments and spatial statistics: A GIS-based examination of the Terminal Classic period Maya collapse. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 9:91-105.

Kennett, D.J., S.F.M. Breitenbach, V. Aquino, Y. Asmerom, J. Awe, J. Baldini, P. Bartlein, B.J. Culleton, C. Ebert, C. Jazwa, M. J. Macri, N. Marwan, V. Polyak, K. M. Prufer, H.E. Ridley, H. Sodemann, B. Winterhalder and G. H. Haug, 2012. Development and disintegration of Maya political systems in response to climate change. Science 338:788-791.