Professor Sheets specializes in:
Professor Sheets' students work includes studying the political relationships between the Zapotitán Valley Archaeological sites at Cerén in El Salvador, Classic Period Maya agricultural production and organization, also at Cerén, using remotely-sensed data from satellites and aerial photography to identify areas of ancient occupation or the Late Classic (AD 600-800) Maya in Peten, Guatemala and using various remote sensing platforms, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to understand landscape, social memory, space and place relative to the pre-Colombian archaeology of Lower Central America and Mesoamerica.
Professor Sheets is looking for graduate students with the following:
Professor Sheets' research focuses on the ancient societies of Mesoamerica and lower Central America. He is particularly interested in how societies, from egalitarian to complex, react to the sudden massive stresses of explosive volcanic eruptions. As both Ceren in El Salvador and Arenal in Costa Rica are deeply buried by volcanic ash layers, he and his research team have been developing remote sensing techniques from aircraft and satellites, and geophysical techniques for exploring many meters below the present ground surface. Most recently he has discovered that the Maya were cultivating a root crop, manioc, which out-produces maize by about 15 times, in carbohydrates per unit area.