Gavin R. Davies

  • Anthropology Ph.D. Candidate
  • Anthropology
859 777 2000
Other Affiliations:
  • Universidad del Valle, Guatemala
  • Register of Professional Archaeologists
Research Interests:

Masters in European Archaeology, University of Edinburgh, Scotland (2006-7);

Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Archaeology, University of Oxford, England (2001-2);

BA (Hons) in Archaeology, University of Liverpool, England (1996-1999)


Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, I am a professional archaeologist with fieldwork and research experience spanning the United Kingdom, the midwestern United States, southern Mexico, and highland Guatemala. At the University of Kentucky my geographical focus has been Mesoamerica, but thanks to several semesters teaching the Old World civilizations course I have also been able to maintain my parallel interest in the ancient cultures of the Near East and Europe. This has also been facilitated by the broad scope of the readings provided in Dr. Scott Hutson's seminars on archaeological theory and and identity. 

In terms of theory, my primary focus while taking classes at UK was in political systems and power more broadly. However, over the last couple of years, this has morphed into an overriding concern with community dynamics and issues of resilience and well-being. Like several other scholars I am excited by the apparent potential of these concepts to broach the divide between systems and agency thinking. 



My dissertation research explores changes in community resilience and well-being during the Classic to Postclassic Transition (c800-1200 AD) in the Lake Atitlan Basin of highland Guatemala. A time of broad scale climatic and economic fluctuations as well as local level political changes, this was a time of considerable stress for rural households and communities. But the early indications are that the communities in this part of the highlands survived and in some cases thrived during this tumultuous period. A microregional survey involving surface collection and test excavations will illuminate the adaptation strategies that were adopted and their long-term consequences for community resilience and well-being. Funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the University of Kentucky, the field investigations for the Proyecto Arqueologico Lago de Atitlan (PALA) are scheduled to begin in March 2015.

Selected Publications: 

Davies, Gavin R.

2016    Laying the Foundations for Collaboration in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. American Anthropological Association Ethics Blog. Available online at

Davies, Gavin R. and Maria de Los Angeles Corado M.

                2016    El Crecimiento de Chuitinamit y la Transicion Clasico a Postclasico en la Cuenca de Atitlan, Solola. Proceedings del XXIV Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala,                       2015.

Hutson, Scott R. and Gavin R. Davies

2015    How Material Culture Acted on the Ancient Maya of Yucatan, Mexico. Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association, Vol. 26, pp. 10–26.  

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