Archaeology Lecture to Feature Researchers of Lady Ka’bel Tomb

David Freidel and Michelle Rich to speak Feb. 5 at The College of Wooster

4 February, 2016 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio – David Freidel, professor of archaeology at Washington University, and Michelle Rich, Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, will present “The Embodiment of Kaanal: Figurines, Monuments, and Archaeology at El Peru-Waka’ and Beyond” on Friday, Feb. 5. The free public lecture, will begin at 4 p.m. in Room 038 of Kauke Hall (400 E. University St.).

The lecture will focus on research done in association with the tomb of Lady Ka’bel, ancient Maya ruler of El Perú-Waka’ (located in modern Guatemala) which was excavated in 2012 by a team of archaeologists led by Olivia Navarro-Farr, assistant professor of anthropology, archaeology, Latin American studies, and sociology at The College of Wooster. This ancient Maya queen is represented on the enormous Stela 34 at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Her image on this impressive stone monument is strikingly similar to a small-scale ceramic statuette excavated as one of twenty-three figurines arranged in a ritual scene in the tomb of a different royal personage of Waka’. That tomb was excavated in 2006 by Rich. Freidel and Rich will discuss the connections linking the monument and the figurine. As such, they will explore Lady Ka’bel’s role in the political intrigue associated with the ancient Maya Kaanal empire (Kanaal translates loosely to “Snake Kingdon”), seated at the site of Calakmul (today in Campeche, Mexico) during the Late Classic Period (~AD 500-750).

Freidel received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. His studies focus on the emergence and fluorescence of government institutions among the lowland Maya of southeastern Mexico and Central America. Currently, he is directing long-term research at the royal city of El Perú, ancient Waka’. While the primary research and analyses at El Perú-Waka’ are the responsibility of foreign and Guatemalan graduate students advancing their careers, Freidel collaborates with these researchers in presentations and articles where his expertise is relevant.

Rich earned her B.A. in anthropology from the University of Minnesota, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from Southern Methodist University. She has worked for many years in the Maya area at a variety of sites, including Cerros, Belize; with Programme for Belize Archaeological Project in northwestern Belize and at the site of El Peru-Waka' in Peten, Guatemala. In addition to Maya and Mesoamerican archaeology, her research interests involve Classic period Maya civic-ceremonial architecture and elite mortuary contexts; space and place in complex societies; and museums, communities, and the presentation of the past.

The lecture is sponsored by the Archaeology Program and the Office of the Provost. Additional information is available by phone (330-263-2042) or email.