Olivia Navarro-Farr to Discuss Discovery of Ancient Queen’s Tomb on Feb. 20

Assistant professor of sociology and anthropology to speak at Faculty at Large lecture

3 February, 2014 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — Olivia Navarro-Farr, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at The College of Wooster, will present "Fire Ceremony, Sacred Memory, and Ritual Revitalization: Remembering Kaloomte' K'abel at the Classic Maya City of El Perú-Waka'" at the first Faculty at Large lecture of the spring semester on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 11 a.m. in Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall (303 E. University St.). Admission is free and open to the public.

Initial archaeological investigations at El Perú-Waka's primary public shrine revealed intense ritual activities performed throughout the site's decline, following the collapse of the city's royal court. Recent investigations focused on understanding the form and function of this edifice in earlier periods.

"The exposure of the fronting attached platform revealed the re-use of Early and Late Classic sculpted monument fragments adorning its north and south walls," said Navarro-Farr. "Additionally, excavations on the summit of this platform revealed a complex architectural sequence spanning at least four centuries. The final phase features a U-shaped structure with a fire altar dating to around the 9th or 10th Centuries."

Two earlier substructures were also encountered buried within the platform, according to Navarro-Farr. As the season drew to a close, excavators encountered a vaulted chamber built into the staircase of the earlier of the two substructures housing the remains of a royal individual. This figure was aligned with the Kan Kingdom of Calakmul and has been identified as the historically known ruler Lady K'abel, who ruled at Waka' during the early 7th Century and was central to the Waka' dynasty's political fortunes throughout this period.

Navarro-Farr, who joined Wooster's faculty in 2012, focuses on ancient Mesoamerica. She has conducted archaeological investigations in Belize, Mexico, and has worked in Guatemala since 2001. Her interests include the archaeology of ritual, practice theory, monumental architecture, sacred space, mortuary ritual, and Guatemalan and Mexican political history. As co-director for the El Perú-Waka' Archaeological Project, she has focused on the investigation of the site's primary civic-ceremonial structure since 2003. She teaches Introduction to Anthropology, Introduction to Archaeology, Physical Anthropology, and Archaeological Method and Theory at Wooster. She earned her undergraduate degree at St. Mary's University, San Antonio, and her M.A., Ph.D. at Southern Methodist University.

Additional information about the lecture is available by phone (330-263-2576) or e-mail.