Mary Kate Kelly

Mary Kate Kelly is a PhD Candidate at Tulane University, studying the linguistics of Maya hieroglyphic writing. This year she is a George Stuart Residential Scholar at the Boundary End Center in North Carolina, working on her dissertation. Her research looks at the linguistic variation present in the inscriptions, in order to gain better insight as to the distribution of different, but related, linguistic groups among the Maya. Her interests lie at the crossroads of language, literature, and culture, and extend to historical linguistics and the world’s writing systems.


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Bill Ringle
Maya at the Lago Presenter

Professor of Anthropology, Davidson College, and co-director of the Bolonchen Regional Archaeological Project. His interests include ancient Maya political organization and community formation in northern Yucatan, external relations with western Mesoamerica, Maya art and writing, and the application of digital methods.

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Dr. Dionisio Urbina
Site Director / Onsite Archaeologist

Dr.  Dionisio  Urbina  has  worked  in  the  field  of  archaeology  for  over  25  years.  Dr.  Urbina’s excavations have spanned everything from big Bronze Age settlements to a medieval castle, including  Iron  Age,  Roman  or  Visigothic  sites:  cities,  villages,  kilns,  baths,  military  camps, and farms.

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Dr. Angeliki Kottaridi
Site Director

Kottaridi began her studies of Archaeology and Art History with the Faculty ofAUTHwhere she graduated with honors. Shortly thereafter, she was awarded a scholarship from Germany to continue her postgraduate studies in areas including Classical, Proistoriki and Medieval Archaeology, the History of Art, Ancient and Medieval Studies in Ethnology, and Theatre Studies at the University of Cologne.

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Inês Vaz Pinto
Site Director

Inês Vaz Pinto studied History and Archaeology at Universidade Livre, in Lisbon (Portugal), where she graduated. She got a scholarship from the University of Arizona, in Tucson, where she studied Classical Archaeology and got her MA.

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Mat Saunders
Founder and Executive Director / Program Director

Mat’s work at Davidson Day expands beyond the classroom and into Anthropology and Archaeology with AFAR. Not only does AFAR operate field schools every summer, but is host to two major conferences, provides a summer program for elementary students, and is building new programs to provide pre-collegiate students an opportunity to discover and learn about archaeology.

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Christy Pritchard
Onsite Archaeologist

Ms. Christy Pritchard, RPA has twenty years of experience in archaeological research. While much of her work focuses on the development of research designs, furnishing archaeological assessments, conducting investigations and technical reporting, Christy is equally dedicated to archaeology education and outreach.

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Ana Patrícia Magalhães
Field Director

Graduated in Archaeology in 2006 and a Master in Archeology in 2011, with the study of terra sigillata of the archaeological site of Tróia (“A terra sigillata da oficina de salga 1 de Tróia: contextos de escavações antigas (1956-1961)”), submitted at the University of Lisbon, under the guidance of Professor Dr. Carlos Fabião.

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Dr. Marc Zender
Onsite Archaeologist

Marc Zender received his PhD from the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology of the University of Calgary in 2004. He has since taught at the University of Calgary (2002-2004) and Harvard University (2005-2011), and is now an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Tulane University, New Orleans.

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Jim Pritchard
Onsite Archaeologist

Jim Pritchard, RPA has been an Archaeology Consultant for twenty-five years. Jim conducts cultural resources assessments, archaeological research, investigations and technical reporting for the federal regulatory process.

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Ioannis Graikos
Onsite Archaeologist

Ioannis Graikos is an onsite archaeologist. Mr. Graikos earned a degree from the University of Thessaloniki and currently works as a curator of the archaeological site and museum of Aigai (Vergina) and Veria, in the Ephorate of Antiquities of Hemathia, Greek Ministry of Culture and Ahtletics. He is currently working on his PHD.

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Alexander Chatziioanidis
Onsite Archaeologist

Alexandros Chatziioanidis is a Greek archaeologist. He earned his BA and MA in Classical Archaeology from the University of Bonn in Germany. Over the last thirty years, he has participated in numerous excavations in Eretria, Wuerzburg, and Thessaloniki.

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Filipa Araújo Santos
Onsite Archaeologist

Filipa Santos is a young Portuguese archaeologist. She graduated in the University of Lisboa and she participated in several excavations in Portugal and Spain, contributing to the study of archaeological sites from Prehistory, Iron Age and Roman times.

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Christopher “Boone” Sims
Onsite Archaeologist

Christopher “Boone” Sims (MA, RPA) is an archaeologist and sustainability advocate based in Portland, Oregon. He earned a Bachelor’s in Anthropology from Appalachian State University (hence the nickname), and a Master’s degree from the University of Louisville. He has worked with AFAR since 2014, assisting in operating AFAR’s field school in Belize and the annual Maya at the Lago conference.

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Deb Strachan
Operations Manager

Deb Strachan serves as the operations manager for AFAR. Her responsibilities include managing the financials of the organization, planning and organizing the Maya Conferences, overseeing the logistics of the summer programs, and serving as the initial responder for student and parent questions. AFAR simply would not operate smoothly without her involvement.

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StaffMatt Benson