Jerald Ek, PhD

Assistant Professor


Jerald (Jerry) Ek is an archaeologist with research interests in community-based participatory research, indigenizing archaeology, human-environmental interactions, and political economy. After spending most of his career focusing on the Maya Lowlands region of Mesoamerica, he has shifted focus to the Salish Sea region. 

Dr. Ek is the co-director of two active field research projects. The x̌ʷiq̓ʷix̌ʷalqʷuʔ (Blue Water) Project is an indigenous-led archaeological project conducted in partnership with the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians. The goal of this project is to contribute to a new paradigm in archaeological practice focused on meaningful integration of decolonizing and indigenizing perspectives into archaeological fieldwork. To realize these goals, research questions, objectives, and methods of the program prioritize indigenous concerns, capacity building, and tribal sovereignty over research products and intellectual property.

Jerry is also the director of the Proyecto Arqueológico Champotón (Champotón Archaeological Project), a regional study of political ecology and human-environmental interactions in the Maya Lowlands in Campeche, Mexico. This study explores the Classic Maya collapse by focusing on an exception to the common historical trajectory of political and demographic decline. The objective of this study is to document factors that contributed to the resilience of communities through the Classic to Postclassic transition in a region prospered through this tumultuous era. The PAC project contributes to research on the Classic Maya collapse by exploring this transitional period not as an endpoint, but as a set of linked political, economic, social, and ecological transformations. 

Research Interests

Community-Based Participatory Research, Indigenizing Archaeology, Human-Environmental Dynamics, Sustainability and Resilience Science, Urbanism, Political Economy, Remote Sensing, Ceramic Analysis, Lithic Analysis, Salish Sea, Coast Salish, Mesoamerica, Maya Area.


Ph.D.   University at Albany

M.A.    University College London

B.A.    Western Washington University

Current Courses

Anthropology 210: Introduction to Archaeology

Anthropology 310: Monuments, Cities, and Taxes (previously Rise of Civilizations)

Anthropology 312: Field Course in Archaeology

Anthropology 316: Aztec, Inca, and Maya Archaeology

Anthropology 335: Quantitative Methods in Anthropology

Anthropology 406/506: Archaeological Method and Theory

Anthropology 411/511: Archaeology of Northwestern North America

Anthropology 428/528: Cultural Resource Management

Honors 356: Sustainability, Resilience, and Collapse

Selected Publications

Jerald Ek. 2022.   The Inflection Points in Formative Maya History: The View from Champotón, Campeche, contribution to special edition “Sociopolitical and Economic Transformations in the Maya Lowlands during the Middle Preclassic Period (1000-300 BC)” to be published in Fall 2022 issue of Ancient Mesoamerica.


Jerald Ek. 2022.   The First Potters in the Champotón River Valley, in Exploring an Unnamed Era: Pre-Mamom Pottery in the Maya Lowlands, edited by Debra S. Walker, pp. 237-255.  University of Colorado Press, Boulder.


Jerald Ek. 2020.   The Inertia of Old Ideas: A Historical Overview of Theoretical and Methodological Challenges in the Study of Classic Maya Political Organization. Journal of Archaeological Research 28:241-287.


Armand LaRocque, Jerald Ek, and Brigitte Leblon. 2018.   Detection of Potential Large Maya Settlements in the Northern Petén Area (State of Campeche, Mexico) Using Optical and Radar Remote Sensing, Journal of Archaeological Science, 23:80-97. ().


Jerald Ek. 2018.    Las Tendencias Culinarias, Adaptabilidad y la Resiliencia a Largo Plazo de las Comunidades Mayas en la Cuenca del Río Champotón.  Los Investigadores de la Cultura Maya, 25:125-140. 


Jerald Ek. 2017.    Transformaciones Políticas, Económicas, y Ambientales en Champotón, Campeche, in Champotón: Biografía de un Pueblo, edited by Tomás Arnabar Gunam, pp. 243-262. vol. 4: Otras Voces. Centro INAH Campeche, Campeche.


Jerald Ek. 2017.    Un Visión Diacrónico de Cambio Adaptivo en Champotón, Campeche. In Champotón: Biografía de un Pueblo, edited by Tomás Arnabar Gunam, pp. 410-432. vol. Tomo 4: Otras Voces. Centro INAH Campeche, Campeche.


Jerald Ek. 2016.   Pottery and Politics: Contextualizing the Classic to Postclassic Transition in Champotón, Campeche, Latin American Antiquity 27(4):527-548.


William Folan, David Bolles, and Jerald D. Ek. 2016.    On the Trail of Kukulkan: Mythic Trade Routes, Interaction Networks, and Interpolity Connections in the Maya Lowlands, Ancient Mesoamerica, 27(2):293-318.


Benjamin W. Stanley, Timothy Dennehy, Michael E. Smith, Barbara Stark, Abigail York, George Cowgill, Juliana Novic, and Jerald Ek. 2015.   Urban Service Access in Premodern Cities: An Exploratory Comparison of Spatial Equity. Journal of Urban History. ()


Jerald Ek. 2015.   Champotón, in Encyclopedia of the Ancient Maya, edited by Walter Witschey, pp. 79-81. AltaMira Press, Lanham. 


Jerald Ek. 2013.   Patrones de Asentamiento y Cronología Cerámica del Período Formativo en la Cuenca del Río Champotón, Campeche, in La Costa de Campeche en los Tiempos Prehispánicos: Una Visión 50 Años Después, edited by Rafael Cobos Palma, pp 235-256. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México D.F. 


William Folan, Abel Morales L., Raymundo González H., José Antonio Hernández T., Linda Florey Folan, Donald Forsyth, Vera Tiesler B., María José Gómez C. Aracely Hurtado C., Ronald Bishop, David Bowles, Geoffrey Braswell, Jerald Ek, Joel Gunn, Christopher Götz, Gerardo Vallanueva, Alicia Blanso, Tomás Arnabar G., María del Rosario Domínguez C., and Trenton Noble. 2013.    Chakanputun, Campeche: 3,000 Años de Sustentabilidad, in La Costa de Campeche en los Tiempos Prehispánicos: Una Visión 50 Años Después, edited by Rafael Cobos Palma, pp257-280. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México D.F.  


Jerald Ek. 2012.   The Political and Economic Organization of Late Classic States in the Peninsular             Gulf Coast: The View from Champotón, Campeche, in The Ancient Maya of Mexico: Reinterpreting the Past of the Northern Maya Lowlands, edited by Geoffrey E. Braswell pp. 143-169. Equinox, London.