Ian Roa

  • PhD Student - Archaeology

Ian Roa’s research explores human – animal relationships in ancient Maya civilization using faunal assemblages from highly charged ritual contexts. To do so, he will draw on contemporary social zooarchaeological perspectives and on approaches revealing animal osteobiographies using isotope analysis. He seeks to understand how animals conceptualized in Maya worldview embodied a medium between nature and supernatural entities and, moreover, how their acquisition and ceremonial use among religious practitioners sought to deal with ecological fluctuations and political crisis through ritual.

Degrees and Education

BA in Anthropology- University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), El Paso, TX
BA in History- University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), El Paso, TX


2022 Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
2022 Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Short-Term Research Fellowship
2021-2022 Provost’s Dissertation Fellowship for Historically Underrepresented Students
2021 Society for Archaeological Sciences Student Research Support Award
2019-2020 Graduate Fellowship in Latin American Archaeology
2016-2017 K. Leroy Irvis Fellowship


Biggie, Michael, John P. Walden, Ian N. Roa, Julie A. Hoggarth and Jaime J. Awe . n.d. The New Shell Game: Ritual Use of Jute in the Maya Lowlands. Latin American Antiquity. In Preparation. 


Walden, John P., Michael Biggie, Kyle Shaw-Müller, Qiu Yijia (邱益嘉), Julie A. Hoggarth, Anaïs Levin, Abel Nachamie, Jose Victor Gonzales Avendaño, Olivia P. Ellis, Kirsten Green-Mink, Rosie Bongiovanni, Victoria S.R. Izzo, Ian N. Roa, Amy E. Thompson, April Martinez, Richard P. Stonehouse, Claire E. Ebert, Rafael A. Guerra and Jaime J. Awe. n.d. The Roles and Strategies of Classic Maya Intermediate Elites in the Emergence of Political Authority. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. In Preparation.