University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Department of Anthropology

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Lisa J Lucero Ph.D.

ANTHROPOLOGY; Affiliated Faculty of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Professor of Medieval Studies
Center for Global Studies

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Research Interests

Climate change and society, the ancient Maya, rise and fall of complex polities, ritual


  • Ph.D., UCLA, 1994

Distinctions / Awards

  • AAAS Fellow



  • Fiske, Shirley, Susan Crate, Carole Crumley, Kathleen Galvin, Heather Lazarus, George Luber, Lisa Lucero, Anthony Oliver-Smith, Ben Orlove, Sarah Strauss, and Richard Wilk. Changing the Atmosphere: Anthropology and Climate Change. Arlington: American Anthropological Association, 2015.
  • Lucero, Lisa J., and Barbara W. Fash (eds). Precolumbian Water Management: Ideology, Ritual, and Politics. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2006.
  • Water and Ritual: The Rise and Fall of Classic Maya Rulers. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006.
  • Social Integration in the Ancient Maya Hinterlands: Ceramic Variability in the Belize River Area. Tempe: Anthropological Research Paper No. 53. Arizona State University, 2001.
  • Bacus, Elisabeth A., and Lisa J. Lucero (eds). Complex Polities in the Ancient Tropical World. Arlington: Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association Number 9. American Anthropological Association, 1999.

Book Contributions

  • "Water Control and the Emergence of Polities in the Southern Maya Lowlands: Evolutionary, Economic, and Ecological Models." Cooperation and Collective Action: Archaeological Perspectives. 2013.
  • Lucero, Lisa J. "Memorializing Place among Classic Maya Commoners." Memory Work: Archaeologies of Material Practices. Ed. B.J. Mills and W.H. Walker. Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press, 2008. 187-205.
  • Lucero, Lisa J., and Sherry A. Gibbs. "The Creation and Sacrifice of Witches in Classic Maya Society." New Perspectives on Human Sacrifice and Ritual Body Treatments in Ancient Maya Society. Ed. V. Tiesler and A. Cucina. New York: Springer Press, 2007. 45-73.
  • Lucero, Lisa J. "Agricultural Intensification, Water, and Political Power in the Southern Maya Lowlands." Agricultural Strategies. Comp. C. Stanish. Ed. J. Marcus. Los Angeles: The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA , 2006. 281-305.
  • Lucero, Lisa J. "The Political and Sacred Power of Water in Ancient Maya Society." Precolumbian Water Management: Ideology, Ritual, and Politics. Ed. L. J. Lucero and B. Fash. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2006. 116-128.
  • Lucero, Lisa J., Scott L. Fedick, Andrew Kinkella, and Sean M. Graebner. "Ancient Maya Settlement in the Valley of Peace Area, Belize." Archaeology of the Upper Belize River Valley: Half a Century of Maya Research. Ed. J.F. Garber. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2004. 86-102.
  • Walker, William H., and Lisa J. Lucero. "The Depositional History of Ritual and Power." Agency in Archaeology. Ed. M. Dobres and J. Robb. London: Routledge Press, 2000. 130-147.
  • Lucero, Lisa J. "Water Control and Maya Politics in the Southern Maya Lowlands." Complex Polities in the Ancient Tropical World. Comp. L.J. Lucero. Ed. E.A. Bacus. Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 9, 1999. 34-49.

Journal Articles

  • Lucero, Lisa J., Roland Fletcher, and Robin Coningham. "From “Collapse” to Urban Diaspora: The Transformation of Low-Density, Dispersed Agrarian Urbanism." Antiquity 89.347 (2015): 1139-1154. 13 Oct. 2015.
  • Lucero, Lisa J., and Andrew Kinkella. "Pilgrimage to the Edge of the Watery Underworld: An Ancient Maya Water Temple at Cara Blanca, Belize." Cambridge Archaeological Journal 25.1 (2015): 163-185.
  • Lucero, Lisa J., and Joel D. Gunn. "Climate Change and Classic Maya Water Management." Water 3.2 (2011): 479-494. 1 Apr. 2011.
  • Lucero, Lisa J. "Materialized Cosmology among Ancient Maya Commoners." Journal of Social Archaeology 10.1 (2010): 138-167.
  • Scarborough, Vernon L., and Lisa J. Lucero. "The Non-Hierarchical Development of Complexity in the Semitropics: Water and Cooperation." Water History 2.2 (2010): 185-205.
  • Lucero, Lisa J. "Classic Maya Temples, Politics, and the Voice of the People." Latin American Antiquity 18.4 (2007): 407-427.
  • Lucero, Lisa J. "The Politics of Ritual: The Emergence of Classic Maya Rulers." Current Anthropology 44.4 (2003): 523-558.
  • Lucero, Lisa J. "The Collapse of the Classic Maya: A Case for the Role of Water Control." American Anthropologist 104.3 (2002): 814-826.
  • Lucero, Lisa J. "Classic Lowland Maya Political Organization: A Review." Journal of World Prehistory 13.2 (1999): 211-263.