Rosemary Joyce's research is concerned with questions about the ways prehispanic inhabitants of Central America employed material things in actively negotiating their place in society. She is especially interested in the use of representational imagery to create and reinforce gendered identities, especially in Classic Maya monumental art and glyphic texts, and Formative period monumental and small-scale images. She specializes in the study of ceramics, including analysis of the functional implications of vessel distributions, and of the symbolism of representational pottery vessels and figurines, and also has conducted landscape-scale research on settlement patterns and more recently, senses of place.
My research is concerned with questions about the ways prehispanic inhabitants of Central America employed material culture in actively negotiating their place in society. Much of my published work is concerned with the use of representational imagery to create and reinforce gendered identities, and includes examinations of Classic Maya monumental art and glyphic texts, and of Formative period monumental and small-scale images. Some of this work also involves mortuary analysis. I specialize in the study of ceramics, including analysis of the functional implications of vessel distributions, and of the symbolism of representational pottery vessels and figurines.
I have participated in field research in northern Honduras since 1977, and currently co-direct a project investigating the earliest evidence of village life in that country. I previously worked on archaeological projects in the Naco and lower Ulua Valleys, and co-directed a project in the Cuyumapa River drainage, always using multi-scalar approaches involving regional settlement patterns and detailed household archaeology. The sites I have worked at span the entire known sequence of occupation in Honduras, from the Early Formative (before 1500 BCE) to the Late Postclassic/Early Colonial (16th century CE). My strongest interests are in sites of the Classic period (ca. 250-1000 CE) and the Early to Middle Formative Period (ca. 1200-500 BCE). Since 1992, I have coordinated my field work with the cultural resources management goals of the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History, working in the lower Ulua Valley to record information about sites being destroyed for economic development. This provided me with an opportunity to conduct excavations on a very early village site contemporary with Olmec societies of the Gulf Coast of Mexico, converging with my re-analysis of museum collections from this period. Most recently, I have conducted excavations at Los Naranjos, a major monumental site dating to the same period that was opened in the late 1990s as a national park.
As a museum anthropologist, I have worked with curated collections, including photographs and historical archives, in both North America and Honduras. I have been privileged to be involved in collections management and exhibition work at Harvard's Peabody Museum, the Wellesley College Museum and Cultural Center, the Heritage Plantation at Sandwich, Massachusetts, the Museo de Antropolog°a e Historia in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory. My work with museum collections inspired an interest in disciplinary history, and I have published work about women who were early archaeologists in Honduras. This has led to extended work on the history and sociopolitics of archaeology, using Honduras as a case study.
(Julia A. Hendon and Rosemary A. Joyce, eds) Mesoamerican Archaeology: Theory and Practice. Blackwell Global Studies in Archaeology. Blackwell, 2004.
(Lynn Meskell and Rosemary Joyce) Embodied Lives: Figuring Ancient Egypt and the Classic Maya. Routledge, 2003.
The Languages of Archaeology: Dialogue, Narrative, and Writing. Blackwell, 2002.
Gender and Power in Prehispanic Mesoamerica. University of Texas Press, 2001.
(Rosemary Joyce, Carolyn Guyer and Michael Joyce) Sister Stories. New York University Press, 2000.
(Rosemary A. Joyce and Susan D. Gillespie, editors) Beyond Kinship: Social and Material Reproduction in House Societies. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2000.
(David C. Grove and Rosemary A. Joyce, editors) Social Patterns in Pre-Classic Mesoamerica. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC, 1999.
(Cheryl Claassen and Rosemary A. Joyce, editors) Women in Prehistory: North American and Mesoamerica. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1997.