Dr. Jeb Card

Dr. Jeb J. Card

Visiting Assistant Professor and Assistant for Special Projects

Anthropology
Upham Hall, 132
Oxford, OH 45056
513-529-5994
cardjj@MiamiOH.edu

Dr. Jeb Card is Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology. He specializes in historical archaeology, early colonialism, material culture hybridity, ethnogenesis, ceramic analysis, and pre-Hispanic Maya political history, working in Mesoamerica, chiefly in El Salvador. He received his Ph.D. from Tulane University.

Biography

Much of my work as a Mesoamerican archaeologist, including my doctoral dissertation from Tulane University in 2007, has been on the European colonization of the Americas and the impact on indigenous Americans and their societies, as seen from early sixteenth-century Ciudad Vieja, El Salvador, one of the best preserved and earliest Spanish colonial archaeological sites. The origins of the modern world lie in this encounter that violently brought together two halves of the planet and radically transformed biology, ecology, economics, and created the structural inequalities that still persist in the twenty-first century. My work has shown that Mesoamericans played a more complicated and vibrant part in both facilitating and resisting the “Spanish Conquest” than has traditionally been believed. The Pipil of El Salvador continued making everyday objects much as they had, while appropriating elements of European style and aesthetics that either appealed to them or made sense to customers for pottery and other goods. I pioneered a technique of studying such materials that allows for tighter chronological control of early and middle colonial sites and demonstrates how rapidly indigenous craftspeople entered into the global market and design culture. My research also demonstrates that other Mesoamericans from Oaxaca, Mexico, participated as conquistadores allied with the Spaniards and furthering their own interests. Other analysis of ceramics has uncovered evidence for one of the earliest taverns in the Spanish colonies, an important if informal institution for Spanish cultural performance. Altogether, my research at Ciudad Vieja suggests theoretical ties with study of colonial oppression and transformation elsewhere, demonstrating the roots of modern systems of inequality rather than a more traditional “melting pot” model.

I also conduct work on Classic Maya archaeology. I have excavated at Classic and Preclassic sites in Yucatan and El Salvador. Currently, I am collaborating on research on tobacco flasks from Late Classic El Salvador, including an inscribed vessel demonstrating political ties between the largest archaeological site in the country and the major Maya city of Copan, Honduras.

Here at Miami, my work is increasingly turning towards three-dimensional documentation and analysis of artifacts. Along with Miami students, we are building a virtual artifact collection with 3D-scanning and other methods. This is currently cutting-edge technology but I believe it will become a standard part of archaeological and other scholarly work, which is why I am making it part of mid- and upper-level archaeology and anthropology courses I teach at Miami.

In addition to this field and lab work, I also collaborate with several scholars in examining and challenging public and media perceptions of archaeology as being a science of fantastical claims of ancient aliens or lost continents. I am currently writing a book with a major university press on why people so commonly see archaeology as “spooky,” how real archaeologists have contributed to this issue, and possible steps for modifying this image in the future.