I am an anthropological archaeologist. I specialize in ancient Mesoamerica, and particularly the ancient Maya. My research focuses on the creation, perpetuation, and negation of institutionalized social inequality and political authority, and my primary interests include the role of the past in shaping the political present and how archaeology can foster positive social change. Since 2014, I have co-directed a community archaeology project at the site of Punta Laguna in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. I have received grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society among other organizations, and have held a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of Colorado Boulder and a Research Fellowship from the Gerda Henkel Foundation.
Graduate Studies Information
Sarah Kurnick’s research focuses on
- Understanding the creation, perpetuation, and negation of social inequality generally and political authority in particular
- Exploring how archaeology can benefit indigenous communities and foster positive social change
Her temporal/geographic focus is the ancient Maya world, and specifically the Postclassic Maya of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Working with Professor Kurnick
Since 2014, Professor Kurnick has co-directed the Punta Laguna Archaeology project, located in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The project has two primary goals. First, it aims to understand how political authority operates in the aftermath of major social transformations and particularly the nature of Postclassic Maya political relationships. Second, it aims to devise, test, and practice a model of community archaeology that not only engages but also provides tangible benefits to an indigenous, marginalized Maya community.
Professor Kurnick is interested in graduate students with
- strong theoretical backgrounds
- interests in community/public/action archaeologies
- solid writing skills
*Professor Kurnick is currently accepting Ph.D. applicants for Fall 2023