Faces of GIAR: Anabel Ford

March 31, 2022

$1500 (Spring 1980)

Education level at time of the grant: PhD student

Project Description: The grant funded the thin section preparation of archaeological samples of ancient Maya ceramics for the petrographic analyses. Samples were selected based on form and paste in consultation with geologists at UCSB. The research was designed to use petrography to characterize the resources that the ancient Maya were using in their pottery production.

How did the grant process or the project itself influence you as a scientist/researcher? This project was collaborative; myself as an archaeologist could describe the ceramics but could not place them in the geological context. The geologists were experienced in petrography and could easily appreciate the implications. As it turns out, the results of this research presented a puzzle that I have consistently looked to answer.  

Where are you now? I am a research archaeologist with a career of investigating ancient Maya settlement and environmental relationships. In the course of my settlement surveys, I found a major Maya center, El Pilar. The location of this site spreads across Belize and Guatemala and under my direction has become a binational protected area. I have acquired Lidar and intend to complete the survey of the 20 square km reserve and present my interpretation of settlement patterns and their implications for resilience and sustainability.  

Students may apply for Sigma Xi research grants by March 15 and October 1 annually at www.sigmaxi.org/giar.

More About Sigma Xi: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society is the world’s largest multidisciplinary honor society for scientists and engineers. Its mission is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Sigma Xi chapters can be found at colleges and universities, government laboratories, and industry research centers around the world. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been members. The Society is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. www.sigmaxi.org. On Twitter: @SigmaXiSociety