Friday, October 16, 2015

Holley Moyes (April 16, 1958 - Present)

Holley Moyes is an anthropological archaeologist that specializes in the archaeology of religion and in ancient Mesoamerican civilizations. She studies how ideologies are created, maintained, and changed over time and how they affect social processes and human decision-making. Moyes believes that ideologies as important social catalysts because beliefs can lead to choices that have far-reaching, long-term, and sometimes catastrophic effects. When studying the past archaeologists have the opportunity to view history from a long temporal perspective that bears witness to extended social and political processes and their ultimate outcomes. Her own work on the ancient Maya illustrates the power of worldview in the light of history.

Three themes run through her work-- geographically situated field research in ancient Maya ritual caves sites, a broader interdisciplinary approach to understanding ritual and religion though comparative analyses and cognitive science, and how sacred space is conceptualized, created, used, maintained and changed over time. Most of Moyes field research is conducted in ancient Maya ritual cave sites in Belize. Moyes often employs quantitative and scientific methods and am interested in new methodology and theory involving data recovery and interpretation of the archaeological record. Moyes has developed field methods that have allowed her to generate new interpretations in Mesoamerican cave archaeology. These in turn have enabled us to address broad questions in Maya studies such how ancient Maya communities and political hierarchies are established and have allowed Moyes and her team to investigate the social processes that led to the classic Maya 9th century collapse.

Miss Moyes has partnered with cognitive scientists and environmental psychologists in research on caves as special, sacred, or liminal spaces. They examine the qualities of the cave environment such as darkness and enclosed conditions that set them apart from other geographic entities. Their main interest is in human perceptions of cave morphologies in how people navigate and perceive of these spaces.

Ph.D., 2006 — State University of New York at Buffalo
M.A., 2001 — Florida Atlantic University
A.S., 1994 — Palm Beach Community College
B.A., 1978 — Florida State University

Research Interests:
Archaeology of religion
Cave archaeology
Dynamics of complex society
Geographic information systems
Spatial cognition
Cognitive science affiliate
Professor Moyes is currently working on two research projects — Las Cuevas Archaeological Reconnaissance (LCAR) and Belize Cave Research Project (BCRP).

Books Written:
Sacred Darkness: A Global Perspective on the Ritual Use of Caves

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