University of Calgary

Shawn Morton

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.

Current Research

Shawn G. Morton recently completed his Ph.D. in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Calgary, and is a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at Michigan State University as well as a Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Northern Arizona University. His research interests focus on the roles of architecture/built space, ritual, and religion in the constitution of group identity at both the local and polity levels (particularly in Mesoamerica and the Caribbean). His MA thesis dealt with the identification and discussion of ritual procession routes through an ancient Maya civic-ceremonial centre.  His Ph.D. dissertation (Pahn-Ti-Pan: The Rise and Fall of Complex Socio-Political and Economic Systems as Attested in Subterranean Site Contexts of Central Belize, C.A.) extended beyond the urban core to explore temporal and contextual variations in identity/community from the vantage point of ancient Maya cave ritual.  In both of these projects, the exploration of social integration through interaction has been an important facet of his research.  His ongoing research, much of which is the product of collaboration, pursues similar themes in both the broader built and natural landscapes.  Recent publications have explored the complex multi-vocal elements of public ritual practice in cities of the ancient Maya (Canadian Journal of Archaeology); modelled nested social networks at Teotihuacan (Cambridge Archaeological Journal); and evaluated complementary methods for modelling pedestrian movement at the city level (Mapping Spatial Relations, Their Perceptions and Dynamics, and Proceedings of the 17th European Maya Conference).

Shawn is currently co-Director of the Central Belize Archaeological Survey, and Field Director of the Stann Creek Regional Archaeology Project, both in Belize. He is currently editing a book with Meaghan Peuramaki-Brown on conflict and warfare in ancient Mesoamerica for the University of Colorado Press.  He enjoys cooking and, if his waistline permits (a dubious proposition), plans on dedicating the coming year to mastering the tricky-yet-delicious pupusa.  With the recent and tragic loss of Terry Pratchett, Shawn will dedicate the near future to memorizing every last word that this, unquestionably the author of the best fiction on the planet, has ever written… or at least, the best bits…

Recent Publications

Articles in Scholarly Journals

Andres, Christopher R., Christophe Helmke, Shawn G. Morton, and Gabriel D. Wrobel (In Press) Two Ballplayer Panels from Tipan Chen Uitz, Cayo District, Belize. Antiquity

Morton, Shawn, Gabriel Wrobel, Christopher Andres, Christophe Helmke, and Amy Michael (2016) The First Five Years of the Central Belize Archaeological Survey - Political and Economic Development. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology, 13: 149-159.

Helmke, Christophe, Christopher R. Andres, Shawn G. Morton and Gabriel D. Wrobel (2015) For Love of the Game: The Ballplayer Panels of Tipan Chen Uitz in Light of Late Classic Athletic Hegemony. The PARI Journal, XVI (2): 1-30.

Helmke, Christophe, Jaime J. Awe, Shawn G. Morton, and Gyles Iannone (2015) The Text and Context of the Cuychen Vase, Macal Valley, Belize. Maya Archaeology, 3: 8-29.

Morton, Shawn G. (2015) The Táino Use of Caves. Caribbean Connections:  A Publication of the Field Research Centre.

Morton, Shawn G., Mariyam Isa, and Gabriel Wrobel (2015) Caves Were the Houses of the Earth Lord, Right? Insight into the Domestic Economy of Central Belize from the Cave Context. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology, 12: 107-114.

Andres, Christopher, Christophe G.B. Helmke, Shawn G. Morton, Gabriel D. Wrobel and Jason J. González (2014) Contextualizing the Glyphic Texts of Tipan Chen Uitz, Cayo District, Belize.  Latin American Antiquity 25(1):46-64.

Wrobel, Gabriel D., Rebecca Shelton, Shawn Morton, Joshua Lynch and Christopher Andres (2013) The View of Maya Mortuary Cave Ritual from Overlook Rockshelter, Caves Branch River Valley, Central Belize.  Journal of Cave and Karst Studies. 75(2):126-135.

Helmke, Christophe, Jaime J. Awe, Shawn G. Morton, and Gyles Iannone (2012) The Archaeological and Epigraphic Significance of Cuychen, Macal Valley, Belize.  Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology. 9:75-89. 

Morton, Shawn, Meaghan Peuramaki-Brown, Peter Dawson, and Jeffrey Seibert (2012) Civic and Household Community Relationships at Teotihuacan, Mexico:  A Space Syntax Approach. Cambridge Archaeological Journal.  22(3):387-400.

Morton, Shawn Gregory (2012) Ritual Procession and the Creation of Civitas Among the Ancient Maya:  A Case Study from Naachtun, Guatemala.  Canadian Journal of Archaeology 36(1):141-165.

Wrobel, Gabriel D., Christopher R. Andres, Shawn G. Morton, Rebecca Shelton, Amy Michael and Christophe Helmke (2012) Ritual Landscapes of the Caves Branch River Valley.  Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology.  9:233-244.

Andres, Christopher R., Gabriel D. Wrobel, Jason J. Gonzalez, Shawn G. Morton and Rebecca Shelton (2011) Power and Status in Central Belize:  Insights from the Caves Branch Archaeological Survey Project’s 2010 Field Season.  Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 8:101-113.

Andres, Christopher R., Gabriel D. Wrobel, and Shawn G. Morton (2010) Tipan Chen Uitz (“Fortress Mountain Well”):  A Major “New” Maya Center in the Cayo District, Belize.  Mexicon 32:88-94.

Wrobel, Gabriel, Shawn Morton, and Christopher Andres (2010) An Introduction to the First Season of the Caves Branch Archaeological Survey.  Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 7:73-84.

Edited Books (and Contributions to)

Peuramaki-Brown, Meaghan M., Shawn G. Morton, Peter C. Dawson and Jeffrey D. Seibert (In Press) The Dynamic Maya City:  methods for modelling pedestrian movement in ancient civic-ceremonial centres.  In Proceedings of the 17th European Maya Conference, Helsinki 2012, Harri Kettunen and Christophe Helmke, eds.  WAYEB, European Association of Mayanists

Morton, Shawn G., Christopher Andres and Gabriel Wrobel (2014) A Brief Flame Among the Embers:  The Florescence of a ‘Frontier’ Polity During the Classic Period Collapse. In Climates of Change: The Shifting Environment of Archaeology, S. Kulyk, C.G. Tremain, and M. Sawyer, eds., pp. 163-176. Proceedings of the 44th Annual Chacmool Archaeological Conference, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Chacmool Archaeological Association, The Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Calgary.

Morton, Shawn G., Meaghan M. Peuramaki-Brown, Peter C. Dawson and Jeffrey D. Seibert (2014) Peopling the Past:  Interpreting models for pedestrian movement in ancient civic-ceremonial centres.  In Mapping Spatial Relations, Their Perceptions and Dynamics: The City Today and in the Past, Susanne Rau and Ekkehard Schönherr, eds., pp. 25-44. Springer, Heidelberg.

Morton, Shawn G., Christophe Helmke and Jaime J. Awe (2012) Investigations at Actun Neko, Caves Branch River Valley, Belize.  In Heart of Earth:  Studies in Maya Ritual Cave Use, James E. Brady, ed., pp. 83-94.  Bulletin 23, Association for Mexican Cave Studies, Austin.

Morton, Shawn and Don Butler, eds. (2011) It’s Good to Be King:  The archaeology of power and authority.  Proceedings of the 41st (2008) Annual Chacmool Archaeological Conference, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  Chacmool Archaeological Association, The Department of Archaeology, University of Calgary.

Book Reviews

Morton, Shawn Gregory (2012) The Technology of Maya Civilization.  Geoarchaeology:  An International Journal.  27:539-540.

Curriculum Vitae


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