Ed Sisson's Research Interests

Although I have done archaeological research in Mississippi and the Southwest (New Mexico and Utah), my primary area of archaeological research is in Mesoamerica. Except for a summer at Tikal in Guatemala, my work has been in Mexico at sites in Chiapas (Palenque and smaller surrounding sites), Tabasco (various small Olmec sites), and Puebla (Late Postclassic (A.D. 1250-1521) sites in the Tehuacan Valley).

In the Palenque area, I worked with Bob Rands on his ceramic studies of the Palenque sustaining area.

My dissertation was based on a survey of the western Chontalpa of Tabasco. This area was part of the support area for La Venta. Numerous buried sites were discovered along abandoned channels of Rio Grijalva distributaries.

Since the early 1970s, I have worked in the Tehuacan Valley, Puebla, Mexico. This valley is famous for its long archaeolgical sequence which documents the domestication of maize and other Mesoamerican cultigens. My reseach, however, has focused on the time period immediately prior to and after the conquests of the valley by the Triple Alliance (Aztec Empire) and the Spanish. I am interested in the impact of these two conquests on local polities.

An interesting discovery during the 1991 field season was a painted mural at the site of Tehuacan Viejo. Tehuacan Viejo was the largest and dominant of four small city states which controlled the Tehuacan Valley in 1521. The mural depicts seven and a half shields (One and a half were destroyed in the prehispanic period.) on a burnt sienna background. Painted behind each shield were crossed lances. The only exception was the central shield which has an atlatl and darts painted behind it. Our interpretation of the room with the mural was that it was a vesting room for warriors.

Mural Photo 1

Mural Photo 2

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