Kenneth Seligson

Assistant Professor of Anthropology, California State University, Dominguez Hills

I am an anthropological archaeologist studying human-environment relationships in the northern Maya lowlands of the Yucatan Peninsula. Specifically, my research has focused on understanding changing resource management practices related to the production of burnt lime in the hilly Puuc region of the Yucatan. I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at California State University Dominguez Hills. I am also an Honorary Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

My dissertation, The Prehispanic Maya Burnt Lime Industry: Socio-economy and Environmental Resource Management in the Terminal Classic Period (650-950 CE) Northern Lowlands, examined the environmental impacts of burnt lime production in Maya society leading up through a period of sociopolitical breakdown. I used survey, excavation, archaeometric, experimental, and ethnographic research methods to investigate a specific feature class and answer whether it represented a local lime production technology developed during a period of environmental stress. I discovered that the structures were in fact a distinctive pit-kiln technology that was more fuel-efficient than later Colonial-era methods. I concluded that the rapidly expanding Maya communities actively attempted to conserve fuel resources in the face of deteriorating climatic conditions.

Since summer 2017, I have been working with colleagues on an NSF-funded project that uses LiDAR remote sensing data as a baseline for addressing the nature of resource management in relation to regional settlement organizations in the northern Yucatán peninsula. For my part of this project, I am investigating socio-economic variation in site abandonment processes as they relate to changes in resource extraction, particularly limestone quarrying.

Experience

  • 2019–present
    Assistant Professor, California State University Dominguez Hills
  • 2016–2019
    Lecturer, University of Southern California