Dean's Distinguished Lecture series

The LAS Dean’s Distinguished Lecture series provides an opportunity for members of the LAS community and the broader campus community to hear from some of the college’s most distinguished faculty and alumni. Talks are appropriate for people of all backgrounds, so previous knowledge in a specific topic is not required. Talks are open to the public.

Upcoming lectureLucero

Ancestral Maya Sustainability, Climate Change, and Insights for Today

Presented by Lisa J. Lucero
Professor of Anthropology

4 p.m., Wednesday, February 22
Illini Union, Illini Room A

A reception will follow from 5-6 p.m.

The ancestral Maya (c. 250-900 CE) landscape was a mosaic of cities, farmsteads, forests, seasonal wetlands (bajos), and sacred places. Each city had its own king who attracted subjects via dry-season urban reservoirs. When droughts struck between c. 800-900 CE, reservoir levels plummeted and crops failed. Subjects did not revolt or resort to violence. Instead, Maya farmers/subjects deserted kings and southern lowland cities to find more stable water supplies and to take care of their families. Maya kings disappeared. Farmers adapted and moved on. Yet Maya kings and cities lasted 1,000 years, a feat that has implications and insights for today.


If you are unable to attend in person, join via Zoom (passcode: 906160).
In-person and virtual attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions following the presentation.

About the presenter

Lisa J. Lucero is a professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. As an archaeologist, her interests focus on ritual and power, water management, the impact of climate change on society, sustainability in tropical regions, and the ancestral Maya. She received her PhD from UCLA in 1994 and has been conducting archaeology in Belize for over 30 years, authoring seven books and an array of articles and book chapters. Dr. Lucero uses insights from traditional Maya knowledge to promote tropical sustainability and to address global climate change.



If you will need disability-related accommodations to participate in this event, please contact the College of LAS or 217-244-1978. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.