University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Baron, Joanne, Ph.D.

Joanne Baron, Ph.D.
Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania
Elected: 2011 (Department of Anthropology)

Joanne is a lecturer in the department of Anthropology. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013. Joanne excavates in Guatemala, studying the ancient Maya of the Classic Period (A.D. 250–900). Her research investigates the strategies used by Maya communities to retain their local identity and autonomy in the face of inter-polity hierarchies. Her dissertation, entitled "Patrons of La Corona: Deities and Power in a Classic Maya Community," was supervised by the late Emeritus Fellow Robert Sharer and her dissertation chair was Senior Fellow Richard Leventhal. In addition, Joanne works with Simon Martin, an associate curator at the Penn museum. For her dissertation, Joanne spent five field seasons excavating with the La Corona Regional Archaeology Project, directed by Marcello Canuto and Tomas Barrientos. La Corona is located in Northwestern Guatemala and contains a series of small temples that belonged to the site's patron gods. Just as modern towns sometimes have patron saints, ancient Maya cities also had patron gods that were the focus of community cults. Joanne's dissertation focuses on the ways these gods were worshiped and their importance in the creation of community identity and autonomy. In 2010 she received a prestigious Wenner-Gren dissertation fieldwork grant. She was also honored as a 2011 SAS Dean's Scholar. She has presented her dissertation research in the form of several conference papers as well as forthcoming publications. In 2014 she will begin work at a new site in Northwestern Guatemala together with a Guatemalan colleague.


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