Show The Graduate Center Menu

Timothy W. Pugh
Position: Professor
Campus Affiliation: Queens College
Degrees/Diplomas: PhD SIUC 2001
Research Interests: Maya, social complexity, early urbanization, colonialism, Central America
Subfield: Archaeology

Timothy Pugh’s current archaeological research focuses upon the Petén Lakes region of Guatemala. He is examining urbanization at the site of Nixtun-Ch’ich’ and subordinate sites. His previous work at the site encountered an urban grid that appears to have been constructed between 800 and 500 BCE. It is among the earliest such grids in the Americas. Urban grids were previously unknown among the ancient Maya and the timing of this grid’s construction correlates with the emergence of “states” in the region. This urban form appears to have been an innovation of Maya elites to organize and rule the larger population. His current work at the site is seeking to more precisely define the form and chronology of the grid through intensive excavations. He is also searching for the settlement form(s) that preceded the grid’s construction. Like the implementation of the grid upon Manhattan in the 19th century, that of Nixtun-Ch’ich’ involved extensive demolition. 

In addition to early urbanization, his research in Petén examines Spanish colonialism of the Maya region. This work pays particular attention to the role of mission churches in the transformation of Maya societies as well as Maya resistance. 

Recent Grants 

2020-2024 National Science Foundation (Grant # BCS 2020668) Routes to the Rise of Social Hierarchy. 

2017-2019 National Science Foundation (Grant # BCS 1734036) An Examination of the Long Term Relationship between Urban Planning and Social Control. 


Selected Publications: 


Rice, Prudence M.,‎ Don S. Rice,‎ and Timothy W. Pugh 
2017 Small Things Forgotten: Artifacts of Fishing in the Peten Lakes Region, Guatemala (Contributions in Ethnobiology). Society of Ethnobiology, Tacoma, WA. 

Cecil, Leslie G. and Timothy W. Pugh, editors 
2009 Maya Worldviews at Conquest.  University Press of Colorado, Boulder. 



Pugh, Timothy W., Evelyn M. Chan Nieto, and Gabriela W. Zygadło 
2020 Faceless Hierarchy at Nixtun-Ch'ich’, Peten, Guatemala. Ancient Mesoamerica 31( 2): 248-260. 

Pugh, Timothy W. 
2019 From the Streets: Public and Private Space in an Early Maya City. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 26(3):967–997. 

Pugh, Timothy W. and Yuko Shiratori 
2018 Postclassic Architectural Traditions and the Peten Itzas. In Historical and Archaeological Perspectives on the Itzas of Petén, Guatemala, edited by Prudence M. Rice and Don S. Rice, pp. 227-251. University Press of Colorado, Boulder. 

Pugh, Timothy W. and Prudence M. Rice 
2017 Early Urban Planning, Spatial Strategies, and the Maya Gridded City of Nixtun-Ch’ich’, Petén, Guatemala. Current Anthropology 58(5):576-603. 

Pugh, Timothy W., Katherine Miller, Carolyn Freiwald, and Prudence Rice 
2016 Technologies of Domination at Mission San Bernabé, Petén, Guatemala. Ancient Mesoamerica 27(1):49-70. 

Pugh, Timothy W., Prudence Rice, Evelyn Chan Nieto, and Don Rice 
2016 A Chak'an Itza Center at Nixtun-Ch'ich', Petén, Guatemala. Journal of Field Archaeology 41(1):1-16. 

Pugh, Timothy W., Carlos Humerto Sánchez Góngora, and Evelyn Manuela Chan Nieto 
2013 Reconstruyendo el Pasado de Tayasal. Revista Petén Itzá 76(54):77-79. 

Pugh, Timothy W., José Rómulo Sánchez, and Yuko Shiratori 
2012 Contact and Missionization at Tayasal, Petén, Guatemala.  Journal of Field Archaeology 37(1):3-19.