Medieval Studies

Medieval Studies Medieval Studies

Lisa J Lucero Ph.D.

Professor of Medieval Studies,Anthropology, and Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

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Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • Classic Maya, ritual, political power, climate change, sustainability


  • Ph.D., UCLA, 1994

Distinctions / Awards

  • AAAS Fellow
  • President, Archaeology Division, American Anthropological Association (2017-2019)



  • Fiske, Shirley, Susan Crate, Carole Crumley, Kathleen Galvin, Heather Lazarus, George Luber, Lisa Lucero, Anthony Oliver-Smith, Ben Orlove, Sarah Strauss, and Richard Wilk. Changing the Atmosphere: Anthropology and Climate Change. . Arlington: American Anthropological Association, 2015.
  • Lucero, Lisa J., and Barbara W. Fash (eds). Precolumbian Water Management: Ideology, Ritual, and Politics. . Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2006.
  • Water and Ritual: The Rise and Fall of Classic Maya Rulers. . Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006.
  • Social Integration in the Ancient Maya Hinterlands: Ceramic Variability in the Belize River Area. . Tempe: Anthropological Research Paper No. 53. Arizona State University, 2001.
  • Bacus, Elisabeth A., and Lisa J. Lucero (eds). Complex Polities in the Ancient Tropical World. . Arlington: Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association Number 9. American Anthropological Association, 1999.

Chapter Books

  • Ancient Maya Water Management, Droughts, and Urban Diaspora: Implications for the Present. . Chapter Book. Mexico City: UNESCO, 2017.

Book Contributions

  • "Climate Change and Water Management in Tropical Societies: The Classic Maya." Exploring Frameworks for Tropical Forest Conservation: Integrating Natural and Cultural Diversity for Sustainability, A Global Perspective. . Mexico City: UNESCO, 2018. 204-213. 21 Nov. 2018. < >.

  • Lucero, Lisa J., and Jean T. Larmon. "Climate Change, Mesoamerica and the Classic Maya Collapse." Climate Changes in the Holocene: Impacts and Human Adaptation. . Ed. Eustathios Chiotis. London: CRC Press, 2018. 165-181.

  • "Water Control and the Emergence of Polities in the Southern Maya Lowlands: Evolutionary, Economic, and Ecological Models." Cooperation and Collective Action: Archaeological Perspectives. . 2013.

  • Lucero, Lisa J. "Memorializing Place among Classic Maya Commoners." Memory Work: Archaeologies of Material Practices. . Ed. B.J. Mills and W.H. Walker. Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press, 2008. 187-205.

  • Lucero, Lisa J., and Sherry A. Gibbs. "The Creation and Sacrifice of Witches in Classic Maya Society." New Perspectives on Human Sacrifice and Ritual Body Treatments in Ancient Maya Society. . Ed. V. Tiesler and A. Cucina. New York: Springer Press, 2007. 45-73.

  • Lucero, Lisa J. "Agricultural Intensification, Water, and Political Power in the Southern Maya Lowlands." Agricultural Strategies. . Comp. C. Stanish. Ed. J. Marcus. Los Angeles: The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA , 2006. 281-305.

  • Lucero, Lisa J. "The Political and Sacred Power of Water in Ancient Maya Society." Precolumbian Water Management: Ideology, Ritual, and Politics. . Ed. L. J. Lucero and B. Fash. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2006. 116-128.

  • Lucero, Lisa J., Scott L. Fedick, Andrew Kinkella, and Sean M. Graebner. "Ancient Maya Settlement in the Valley of Peace Area, Belize." Archaeology of the Upper Belize River Valley: Half a Century of Maya Research. . Ed. J.F. Garber. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2004. 86-102.

  • Walker, William H., and Lisa J. Lucero. "The Depositional History of Ritual and Power." Agency in Archaeology. . Ed. M. Dobres and J. Robb. London: Routledge Press, 2000. 130-147.

  • Lucero, Lisa J. "Water Control and Maya Politics in the Southern Maya Lowlands." Complex Polities in the Ancient Tropical World. . Comp. L.J. Lucero. Ed. E.A. Bacus. Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 9, 1999. 34-49.

Journal Articles

  • "A Cosmology of Conservation in the Ancient Maya World." Journal of Anthropological Research 74.3 (2018): 327-359. 13 Sep. 2018. <>.
  • Lucero, Lisa J., Jessica Harrison, Jean Larmon, Zachary Nissen, and Erin Benson. "Prolonged Droughts, Short-Term Responses and Diaspora: The Power of Water and Pilgrimage at the Sacred Cenotes of Cara Blanca, Belize." WIREs Water (2016):
  • Lucero, Lisa J., Roland Fletcher, and Robin Coningham. "From “Collapse” to Urban Diaspora: The Transformation of Low-Density, Dispersed Agrarian Urbanism." Antiquity 89.347 (2015): 1139-1154. 13 Oct. 2015. <>.
  • Lucero, Lisa J., and Andrew Kinkella. "Pilgrimage to the Edge of the Watery Underworld: An Ancient Maya Water Temple at Cara Blanca, Belize." Cambridge Archaeological Journal 25.1 (2015): 163-185.
  • Lucero, Lisa J., and Joel D. Gunn. "Climate Change and Classic Maya Water Management." Water 3.2 (2011): 479-494. 1 Apr. 2011. <>.
  • Lucero, Lisa J. "Materialized Cosmology among Ancient Maya Commoners." Journal of Social Archaeology 10.1 (2010): 138-167.
  • Scarborough, Vernon L., and Lisa J. Lucero. "The Non-Hierarchical Development of Complexity in the Semitropics: Water and Cooperation." Water History 2.2 (2010): 185-205. <>.
  • Lucero, Lisa J. "Classic Maya Temples, Politics, and the Voice of the People." Latin American Antiquity 18.4 (2007): 407-427.
  • Lucero, Lisa J. "The Politics of Ritual: The Emergence of Classic Maya Rulers." Current Anthropology 44.4 (2003): 523-558.
  • Lucero, Lisa J. "The Collapse of the Classic Maya: A Case for the Role of Water Control." American Anthropologist 104.3 (2002): 814-826.
  • Lucero, Lisa J. "Classic Lowland Maya Political Organization: A Review." Journal of World Prehistory 13.2 (1999): 211-263.

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