Keith Malcom Prufer

Director, Environmental Archaeology Lab

Photo: Keith Prufer


At UNM since 
Curriculum vitae

Recent Courses:

  • Introduction to Anthropology (ANTH 1115)
  • Ancient Mexico (ANTH 376/576)
  • Current Debates (ANTH 579)


PhD, Southern Illinois University Carbondale (2002)
Dissertation: “Communities, Caves, and Ritual Specialists: A Study of Sacred Space in the Maya Mountains of Southern Belize”


Environmental archaeology, paleoecology, paleoclimate, Neotropics

Recent Publications:

Prufer, KM, AE Thompson, A Wickert, DJ Kennett.  Demographic Growth and Decline Track Climate Change at a Classic Maya Center. Progress in Physical Geography. 2022. DOI: 10.1177/03091333221112359

DJ Kennett, M Masson, CP Lope, S Serafin, RJ George, T Spencer, J Hoggarth, BJ. Culleton, TK Harper, KM Prufer, S Milbrath, B Russell, EU González, WC McCool, VV Aquino, E Paris, JH. Curtis, N Marwan, M Zhang, Y Asmerom, VJ Polyak, SA Carolin, DH James, A Mason, G Henderson, M Brenner, JUL Baldini, SFM Breitenbach, DA Hodell. Drought-Induced Civil Conflict Among the Ancient Maya. Nature Communications, 2022.

DJ. Kennett*, M Lipson*, KM. Prufer*, D Mora-Marín, RJ. George, N Rohland, Mark Robinson, WR. Trask, HHJ. Edgar, EC. Hill, EE. Ray, P Lynch, E Moes, L O’Donnell, TK. Harper, EJ. Kate, J Ramos, J Morris, S Gutierrez, TM. Ryan, BJ. Culleton, JJ. Awe, David Reich*. Convergent Genetic, Linguistic, and Archaeological Evidence for an Ancient Migration of Farmers into the Maya Region. Nature Communications (*corresponding authors). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-29158-y

O. Kweicein, T Braun; CF Brunello; P Faulkner; N Hausmann; G Helle; JA Hoggarth; M Ionita; C Jazwa; S Kelmelis; N Marwan; C Nava-Fernandez; C Nehme; T Opel; J L. Oster; A Perşoiu; C Petrie; KM Prufer; SM. Saarni; A Wolf; SFM. Breitenbach. What we talk about when we talk about seasonality - A transdisciplinary review.  Earth Science Reviews (invited contribution). Published online 2021 (published date 2022)

Prufer, KM, M. Robinson, DJ Kennett. Terminal Pleistocene through Middle Holocene Occupations in Southeastern Mesoamerica: Linking Ecology and Culture in the Context of Neotropical Foragers and Early Farmers. Ancient Mesoamerica 32(3): 439-460 2021. DOI: 10.1017/S0956536121000195

Thompson, AE, G Feinman, KM Prufer. Inequality and the Financing of Classic Maya Political Power. Journal of Archaeological Science. doi/10.1016/j.jas.2021.105441.  2021

Thompson AE, G. Feinman, KM Prufer. Assessing Classic Maya Multi-Scalar Household Inequality in Southern Belize. PlosOne. 16(3), e0248169. 2021

Monteleone, K, AE Thompson, and KM Prufer. Virtual Cultural Landscapes: Geospatial Visualizations of Past Environments. Archaeological Prospection. Doi 10.1002/arp.1830 2021

hompson AE and KM Prufer. Household Inequality, Community Formation, and Land Tenure in Classic Period Lowland Maya Society. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 2021

Smith, ME., SG. Ortman, J Lobo, C Ebert, AE. Thompson, KM Prufer, R Liendo Stuardo, and RM. Rosenswig. The Low-Density Urban Systems of the Classic Period Maya and Izapa: Insights from Settlement Scaling Theory. Latin American Antiquity 2021 doi:10.1017/laq.2020.80.

Kennett, DJ* KM Prufer*, BJ Culleton, RJ George, M Robinson, WR Trask, G Buckley, E Moes, E Kate, TK Harper, L O’Donnell, E Ray, EK Hill, A Alsgaard, C Merriman, C Meredith, HJH Edgar, and S Gutierrez. Early Isotopic Evidence for Maize as a Staple Grain in the Americas Science Advances 23, eaba3245 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba3245, 2020 (*corresponding authors)

KMPrufer Nuevas perspectivas sobre ocupaciones paleoindias y arcaicas en Belice”, Arqueología Mexicana, núm. 165, 2020 pp. 32-34.

KMPrufer, M. Robinson, and DJ Kennett. Recent research in the Bladen Nature Reserve: the preceramic occupations of Mayahak Cab Pek and Saki Tzul Rockshelters. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology, Vol. 17, 2020, pp. 199-208.

Jordan, J. and KM Prufer. Identifying Local and Non-Local Pottery in Three Tombs at Uxbenká, Toledo District: Results of Thin Section Analysis. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology, Vol. 17, 2020, pp. 209-219.

Jordan, J. and KM Prufer. Pottery Production in a Limestone-Poor Region of the Maya Lowlands: Thin Section Petrography and Scanning Electron Microscopy-Energy Dispersive Spectrometry (SEM-EDS) Analysis on Pottery from Uxbenká, Southern Belize. Journal of Archaeological Science Reports, 2020

Y. Asmerom, J. U. L. Baldini, K. M. Prufer, V. Polyak, H. E. Ridley, V. V. Aquino, L. M. Baldini, S. F. M. Breitenbach, C. G. Macpherson, & D.J. Kennett. Intertropical Convergence Zone Variability in the Neotropics During the Common Era.  Science Advances. 7(6) eaax3644, 2020