Universty at Albany

Campus Update

UAlbany Professor Studies the Economic Foundations of the Ancient City of Mayapan
National Science Foundation awards $255,000 for UAlbany professor's archaeological research

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150, (mediarelations@uamail.albany.edu)

Marilyn Masson
Marilyn Masson
ALBANY, N.Y. (April 2, 2008) -- Marilyn Masson, director of the Institute for Mesoamerican Studies at the University at Albany, recently received a National Science Foundation grant of $255,000 to reconstruct the complex economy of the ancient city of Mayapan. Through her research, Masson will examine the production and consumption patterns of the city's diverse social sectors to find out the degree of wealth among the commoner and elite classes.

Masson's research will document the degree of occupational specialization by social class, evaluate the degree of wealth variation among elite and commoner residential groups of different occupations, and evaluate the importance of marketplace exchange.

"Little is known about the structure of family labor and the affluence of elites and commoners who filled different economic roles," said Masson. "Without that information, the goals of comparative anthropology and urban studies are hampered."

Masson will be among a team of other researchers -- which includes Carlos Peraza Lope of Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia and Timothy Hare of Morehead State University -- excavating dwellings thought to represent the homes of religious specialists, craftspersons, domestic servants (including slaves), warriors, traders, and farmers.

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