PaleoWest’s Marion Forest, Ph.D., who specializes in Mesoamerican archaeology, is an associate researcher at Arizona State University conducting a four-year project with co-Principal Investigator Andrew Somerville (Iowa State University) at the World Heritage site of Teotihuacan, Mexico, to better understand the factors that led to Teotihuacan’s decline around A.D. 550–600.
Forest and Somerville, along with their team of several students and local archaeologists, are studying changes in settlement patterns, diet, health, and technology while using systematic radiocarbon dating to further refine Teotihuacan’s chronology and study the long-term urbanization and de-urbanization processes. Their first season in the summer of 2021 consisted of geophysics and drone surveying, followed by surface collection and testing this June with larger excavation seasons planned for 2023 and 2024, with all fieldwork supplemented by laboratory work in Mexico City during other parts of the year.
Marion benefits from PaleoWest’s policy of granting leave for qualified staff members to pursue independent research projects. In her own words: “I am very grateful to PaleoWest to give me the opportunity to spend a few weeks on research leave every year. It is rare in CRM and I am very excited about being able to do both!”
This project was made possible with generous grants from the National Science Foundation and the French Embassy in Mexico. If you’re interested in learning more, check out this great article here!