Richard D. Hansen

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Hansen in 2017

Richard D. Hansen is a noted |American]] archaeologist and adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Utah. He graduated with a Ph.D. from UCLA 1992 as a National Graduate Fellow, a Jacob Javits National Fellow, the UCLA Hortense Fishbaugh Memorial Scholar, the UCLA Distinguished Scholar(1988), a Fulbright Scholar (1989-1990), the UCLA Outstanding Graduate Student (1991), and the UCLA Chancellor's Marshall with highest honors in 1992. He previously held two BS degrees in Spanish and Archaeology (1978, Cum Laude) and a MS degree in Anthropology from Brigham Young University (1984). Hansen is a specialist on the ancient Maya civilization and directs the Mirador Basin Project, which investigates the mainly unexplored territory of the Mirador Basin in the northern Petén, Guatemala.[1][2] He has previously held positions at the University of California, Los Angeles and Idaho State University where he was awarded the Idaho State University Distinguished Achievement Award (2009). He is also the founder and president of the Foundation for Anthropological Research and Environmental Studies (FARES) which is a 501 (c) (3) non profit scientific charitable organization formed in 1996 which seeks to: (1) conduct multidisciplinary investigations of the Mirador Basin region of northern Guatemala; (2) Conduct extensive conservation and preservation programs of both the cultural and environmental heritage of Guatemala; (3) Provide literacy, educational, and vocational training opportunities and provide for the economic development of impoverished communities in northern Guatemala. His work has been featured in 31 film documentaries and was the principal consultant for the movie Apocalypto (Mel Gibson) (Hansen 2012a), CBS Survivor Guatemala, and National Geographic's The Story of God with Morgan Freeman.


Hansen has worked in the Mesoamerican region and early Maya civilization since 1978. Since 1980 until the present, discoveries by Hansen and his colleagues established the idea that ancient Maya societies had centralized governments and early state formations far earlier than once supposed, building numerous massive centers as early as 1000–600 BC that are connected by a complex web of intersite causeways (Hansen 1984,1990,1991,1992 1998, 2001, 2012b, 2016a, 2016b, 2017a; Clark and Hansen 2001; Hansen et al. 2002; Hansen and Suyuc 2011, 2016; Hernandez et al. 2016). Hansen has also identified evidence for an extensive collapse of the Preclassic Maya civilization around 150 AD.(Hansen 1984, 1990, 1998, 2002, 2008, 2012c, 2017; Wahl et al. 2006; Wahl et al. 2007).

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Hansen was awarded the Guatemalan National Order of Cultural Heritage in 2005, the Environmentalist of the Year by the Latin Trade Bravo Association in 2008, and the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres of the "Ordre des Arts et Lettres in Paris in 2012. He was awarded the Orden del Pop from Francisco Marroquin University (Guatemala) in 2012, and the highest civilian award in Guatemala, the Order of the Quetzal in 2017. He was also awarded the Orden de la Monja Blanca by the Guatemalan Ministry of Defense in 2019. He was named as "one of the 24 individuals that changed Latin America (Latin Trade Magazine, Dec. 2013, p. 72, and his work has been an important contribution to the understanding of the development of Maya civilization. [3][4].


External links[edit]

Hansen, Richard D.

     2017a  The Feast before Famine and Fighting:  The Origins and Consequences of Social Complexity in the Mirador Basin, Guatemala.  In Feast, Famine or Fighting?  Multiple Pathways to Social Complexity, edited by Richard J. Chacon and Reuben Mendoza, pp.305-335 .  Springer Press,  New York, London.
       2016a  The Mirador-Calakmul Cultural and Natural System:  A priceless treasure in Guatemala and Mexico /  El Sistema Cultural y Natural Mirador-Calakmul:  Un Tesoro invaluable en Guatemala y Mexico.  In   Mirador:  Research and Conservation in the Ancient Kaan Kingdom, edited by Richard D. Hansen and Edgar Suyuc, pp. 9-36. Foundation for Anthropological Research and Environmental Studies (FARES), Corporacion Litografica, Guatemala, C.A.

2016 b The Cultural and Environmental Components of the First Maya States: A Perspective from the Central and Southern Maya Lowlands. In The Origins of Maya States, edited by Loa P. Traxler and Robert J. Sharer, pp. 329-416. University of Pennsylvania, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia.

Hansen, Richard D. and Edgar Suyuc (editors)
       2016a  Mirador:  Research and Conservation in the Ancient Kaan Kingdom. Foundation for Anthropological Research and Environmental Studies (FARES), Corporacion Litografica, Guatemala, C.A.

Hernandez, Enrique, Thomas Schreiner, Richard D. Hansen, Carlos Morales A., Edgar Ortega G, y Douglas Mauricio 2016 Las calzadas y sacbeob de la Cuenca Mirador / The Causeways and Sacbeob of the Mirador Basin. In Mirador: Research and Conservation in the Ancient Kaan Kingdom, edited by Richard D. Hansen and Edgar Suyuc, pp. 219-254. Foundation for Anthropological Research and Environmental Studies (FARES), Corporacion Litografica, Guatemala, C.A.

Hansen, Richard D.

	2012c The Beginning of the End:  Conspicuous Consumption and Environmental Impact of the Preclassic Lowland Maya.  In An Archaeological Legacy:  Essays in honor of Ray T. Matheny, edited by Deanne G. Matheny, Joel C. Janetski, and Glenna Nielson, pp. 243-291.  Occasional Paper No. 18,  Museum of Peoples and Cultures, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 

      2012 b   Kingship in the Cradle of Maya Civilization.  In Fanning the Sacred Flame:  Mesoamerican Studies in Honor of H.B. Nicholson, edited by Matthew A. Boxt and Brian Dervin Dillon, with foreward by David Carrasco and Eduardo Matos Moctezuma,  pp. 139-171.  University Press of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado. 

2012a Relativism, Revisionism, Aboriginalism and Emic/Etic Truth: The Case Study of Apocalypto. In The Ethics of Anthropology and Amerindian Research, edited by Richard J. Chacon and Ruben G. Mendoza, pp. 147-190. Springer Press, New York, Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London.

Hansen, Richard D. and Edgar Suyuc-Ley.

	2011  L’émergence de l’Etat dans le monde maya:  une vue du basin de Mirador.  In Maya:  de l’aube au crepuscule,  Collections nationales de Guatemala,  edited by Dominique Michelet, pp. 32-37. Musée de quai Branly,  Somogy:  Editions d’art.

Hansen, Richard D., Wayne K. Howell, and Stanley P. Guenter 2008 Forgotten Structures, Haunted Houses, and Occupied Hearts: Ancient Perspectives and Contemporary Interpretations of Abandoned Sites and Buildings in the Mirador Basin, Guatemala. In Ruins of the Past: The Use and Perception of Abandoned Structures in the Maya Lowlands, edited by Travis W. Stanton and Aline Magnoni, pp. 25-64. University Press of Colorado, Boulder.

Wahl, David, Roger Byrne, Thomas Schreiner, and Richard Hansen

      2007  Palaeolimnological   Evidence of  late-Holocene  Settlement and Abandonment in the Mirador Basin, Peten, Guatemala,   The Holocene 17 (6):813-820.   Sage Publications.  (

Wahl, David, Roger Byrne, Thomas Schreiner, Richard Hansen 2006 Holocene vegetation change in the northern Peten and its implications for Maya prehistory. Quaternary Research, 65:380-389. University of Washington. (;

Hansen, Richard D., and Stanley P. Guenter 2005 Early Social Complexity and Kingship in the Mirador Basin. In Lords of Creation: The Origins of Sacred Maya Kingship, edited by Virginia M. Fields and Dorie Reents-Budet, pp. 60-61. Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Scala Publishers.

Hansen, Richard D.

       2002  The Preclassic Collapse in the Social, Political, and Ideological Transformation from the Preclassic to Classic Periods of Maya Civilization. In  Abstracts of the 101st Annual Meeting, American Anthropological Association, pp. 235.  AAA Session 3-083, Becoming Classic:  Social, Political and Ideological Transformations in the Southern Maya Lowlands,  Nov. 23, 2002.  New Orleans, LA.

Hansen, Richard D., Steven Bozarth, John Jacob, David Wahl, and Thomas Schreiner 2002 Climatic and Environmental Variability in the Rise of Maya Civilization: A Preliminary Perspective from Northern Peten. Ancient Mesoamerica, 13 ( 2002): 273-295. Cambridge University Press.

Clark, John E., and Richard D. Hansen 2001 The Architecture of Early Kingship and the Origins of the Mesoamerican Royal Court. The Royal Courts of the Ancient Maya , Vol 2: Data and Case Studies, edited by Takeshi Inomata and Stephen D. Houston, pp. 1-45. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado.

Hansen, Richard D.

    2001  The First Cities-  The Beginnings of Urbanization and State Formation in the Maya Lowlands.  In Maya:  Divine Kings of the Rain Forest, edited by Nikolai Grube, pp. 50-65.  Konemann Press, Verlag, Germany.

Hansen, Richard D.

   1998  Continuity and Disjunction:  The Preclassic Antecedents of Classic Architecture.  Function and Meaning in Classic Maya Architecture, edited by Stephen D. Houston, pp. 49-122. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.
    1992a  The Archaeology of Ideology:  A Study of Maya Preclassic Architectural Sculpture at  Nakbe, Peten, Guatemala.  Ph.D. 	dissertation,  University of  California, Los Angeles. 362 pp.  University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

1991 The Maya Rediscovered: The Road to Nakbe. Natural History, American Museum of Natural History, New York. May 91, pp. 8-14.

Hansen, Richard D.

    1990 Excavations in the Tigre Complex, El Mirador, Peten, Guatemala.  Papers of the New World Archaeological Foundation, No. 62,  El Mirador Series, Part 3.  Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 

Hansen, Richard D.

    1984:	Excavations on Structure 34 and the Tigre Area,  El Mirador, Peten, Guatemala:  A New Look at the Preclassic Lowland Maya.   Master's thesis,  Brigham Young University, Provo,  Utah.  645 pp.