Louisiana State University (LSU) will host the 10th annual South-Central Conference on Mesoamerica, or SCCM. The conference, held Oct. 18-20, brings together faculty and students in the region to present the results of their research and importantly provides an opportunity for graduate students to present and meet faculty and students at other universities. This is the first time LSU is hosting the SCCM, and it is timely since the new Ph.D. program in anthropology began this fall semester. The event is free and open to the public.
"This conference provides a wonderful opportunity for LSU students and faculty to showcase their studies and give something back to the community, who are both interested in and fund research," said LSU Department of Geography & Anthropology's Thomas & Lillian Landrum Alumni Professor Heather McKillop, who is organizing the conference.
She and her students will be presenting on their new National Science Foundation grant fieldwork in Belize titled "Labor Relations in a Traditional Complex Society." Their research is about how small family-run businesses succeed or fail, and how they integrate into the wider economy. McKillop and her students will discuss this in the context of the ancient Maya salt industry in Belize.
The event is co-organized by two of McKillop's doctoral graduates, Rachel Watson and Valerie Feathers, who now work at the Louisiana State Division of Archaeology, as the archaeology manager and outreach coordinator, respectively. Watson reviews proposals for development by day, but she ventures to Belize each year for field research. Both Watson and Feathers exemplify the myriad of jobs available in the field of archaeology.
The conference will offer talks, keynote speaker presentations and opportunities to network with the presenters. The conference will be held in the LSU Howe-Russell-Kniffen Geoscience Complex.
The conference begins Friday at noon with talks in the afternoon and a keynote presentation by Lisa LeCount, professor at the University of Alabama, who will talk about her field research at the ancient Maya city of Actuncan, Belize.
On Saturday, Thomas Garrison, professor at Ithaca College in New York, will deliver a keynote presentation on his use of LiDAR imagery to see through the jungle canopy and reveal sites, which his team is currently excavating.
On Sunday, research talks will be presented from 9 a.m. until noon. A tour of the LSU Indian Mounds is planned in the afternoon.
In addition to the talks, there will be a silent auction and souvenirs for sale to raise funds for next year's student travel awards.
The 10th SCCM is generously funded by the LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences, LSU Department of Geography & Anthropology and the Louisiana Archaeology Society. The conference is presented as part of Louisiana Archaeology month as well.
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