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headshot of David W. Mixter

David W. Mixter

Research Assistant Professor

Environmental Studies Program


Mixter is an archeologist interested in societal collapse and regeneration, social change, collective memory, resistance, relationality, archaeology of communities, Ancient Maya, geographic Information Systems (GIS), activity area studies, microartifacts, and soil chemistry. For his dissertation, he researched how the ancient Maya community of Actuncan, Belize reorganized their social and political institutions following the 9th century ancient Maya collapse. In particular, my research focuses on understanding the function of Terminal Classic civic architecture through a combination of architectural research and microarchaeological proxies, such as microartifact and soil chemistry distributions, for activity spaces. He is also interested in understanding how the Maya collapse led to a restructuring of the legitimization of authority. He plans to investigate the engagement of Actuncan’s Terminal Classic community with the monumental Classic period architecture that surrounds them and the nature of Terminal Classic ritual activity taking place within the site’s largest Classic period ceremonial complex.


  • PhD, Washington University, St. Louis

Research Interests

  • Archaeology of the Ancient Maya
  • Comparative Studies of Societal Collapse and Recovery
  • Frontiers and Early Complexity
  • Social Dynamics of Urban Landscapes
  • Collective Memory
  • GIS and Spatial Analysis