UCARE: Undergraduate Creative Activities & Research Experiences


Date of this Version

Spring 4-2016

Document Type



UCARE Poster session, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Research Fair, April 2016, Lincoln, NE.


Copyright © 2016 Stephanie Sterling, Heather Richards-Rissetto, & René Viel


The archaeological site of Copán—a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Honduras—was a primary center for cultural and economic exchange in the Maya world from the fifth to ninth centuries. Our research investigates the sociopolitical climate of the city immediately preceding this collapse. This poster presents the results of a pilot study intended to evaluate the potential of using a combination of digital technologies and legacy data to reanalyze a subset of diagnostic ceramics from select sites outside of Copan’s urban core. Our methods involved:

(1) Applying photogrammetry to generate 3D models for approximately 30 potentially temporally-diagnostic ceramic types

(2) Digitizing, collating, and analyzing legacy data on ceramics from archived field reports at the Centro Regional de Investigaciones Arqueológicas (CRIA) in Copan Ruinas, Honduras

(3) Linking the legacy data to a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to identify a subset of sites with greater likelihood to contain diagnostic sherds outside of the main ceremonial complex

(4) Reanalyzing a subset of sherds from 1980s test excavations

Initial results indicate that integrating digital technologies and legacy data is conducive to our research efforts. Our results are presented in a multi-media format that encourages viewer interaction with 3D models and Augmented Reality.

[High-res (35 MB) version attached below.]