Boundary End Archaeology Research Center

In keeping with George Stuart’s vision and with many exciting activities under way, the BEARC board has been expanded to include those who study Ancient America from many backgrounds and disciplines.

Board of Advisors

David Stuart, Chairman

David Stuart is the David and Linda Schele Professor of Mesoamerican Art and Writing at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Vanderbilt University in 1995, and taught at Harvard University before arriving at UT Austin in 2004, where he now teaches in the Department of Art and Art History. His interests in the traditional cultures of Mesoamerica are wide-ranging, but his primary research focuses on the archaeology and epigraphy of ancient Maya civilization, and for the past three decades he has been very active in the decipherment of Maya hieroglyphic writing. Over the past two decades his major research has centered on the art and epigraphy at Copan (Honduras), Palenque (Mexico), Piedras Negras, La Corona, and San Bartolo (Guatemala). Stuart’s early work on the decipherment of Maya hieroglyphs led to a MacArthur Fellowship (1984-1989) and a UNESCO Lifetime Achievement Award, presented in Mexico City in 2012. His books include Palenque: Eternal City of the Maya and The Order of Days. Stuart is currently the director of The Mesoamerica Center at the University of Texas at Austin, which fosters multi-disciplinary studies on ancient American art and culture.

Ann Stuart, Executive Director

Ann Stuart, DVM, moved to the Asheville area soon after graduating with honors from the NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine and spending a year of clinical internship at the University of Georgia over 25 years ago. A horsewoman all of her life, Dr. Stuart is involved with endurance racing from the local level to international championship competitions as a 4 star FEI judge. Serving as a staff member for Team USA, she has been a veterinarian at multiple World Equestrian Games, North American and Pan-American Championships and has worked at events in Europe, South America, the Middle East, Japan and all over the US and Canada. Working with your family pets is just as rewarding to Ann as working up lamenesses and maximizing performance in sport horses. She spends her spare time at loving her home in the mountains of Barnardsville with her many horses, dogs and cats.

Board of Directors

Maxime Lamoureux-St-Hilaire

Maxime Lamoureux-St-Hilaire, President

Lamoureux-St-Hilaire is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Archaeology in the Anthropology De- partment of Davidson College. He received his Ph.D. from Tulane University (2018) and his M.A. from Trent University (2011). Max has a keen interest for cross-cultural comparisons in archaeology and is most fascinated by how ancient governments worked. Specifically, he studies the structure of Classic Maya royal courts as evidenced by their regal palaces.


Jeffrey C. Splitstoser, Vice President

Dr. Jeffrey C. Splitstoser was appointed by George Stuart to serve as Vice President of the Boundary End Center (BEC). Splitstoser and current president, Dr. David Stuart, edit the Center’s two peer-reviewed journals, Ancient America and the Research Reports on Ancient Maya Writing. Splitstoser is an Assistant Research Professor of Anthropology at George Washington University. He is also a research associate of the Institute of Andean Studies, Berkeley, and a Cosmos Club scholar. Splitstoser was a Junior Fellow at the Dumbarton Oaks (2005‒2006). As a specialist in ancient Andean textiles, he is part of the Castillo de Huarmey archaeological project, which is excavating Wari textiles and khipus (see the June 2014 issue of National Geographic Magazine). Splitstoser recently received notoriety as the textile specialist for the Huaca Prieta Archaeological Project, directed by Dr. Tom Dillehay, where he studied 6,200 year old cotton textiles dyed with the world’s earliest known use of indigo. He received his Master’s degree (1999) and Ph.D. (2009) in anthropology from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. His dissertation is a study of the Early Paracas textiles from Cerrillos in the Inca Valley of Peru.

Mat Saunders, Secretary

Mat Saunders is an archaeologist and educator and is currently directing ongoing research projects in Belize, Spain, and Greece. In addition to his research, Mat has focused his efforts on bridging the gap between the scientific archaeology community and the general public. In 2007, Mat founded American Foreign Academic Research, which is a non-profit company whose purpose is to further archaeological outreach, education, and site preservation. Mat created the Maya at the Playa and Maya at the Lago Conferences and has organized all seventeen installments of the outreach program. Among other outreach initiatives, Saunders has coordinated and led educational travel expeditions for over nine years. Working alongside colleagues, he has led trips throughout Central America, Cambodia, and French Polynesia.

Mary Kate Kelly, Treasurer

Mary Kate Kelly is a PhD Candidate in Linguistic Anthropology at Tulane University where she studies linguistic diversity in ancient Maya hieroglyphic writing. As a George Stuart Residential Scholar at BEC during the 2018-2019 academic year, she made significant progress on her dissertation, and worked with the collections at BEC as well as outreach programs for the library.

Richard Diehl, Director of Operations

Dr. Richard “Dick” Diehl is Director of Operations for BEARC. Dick is from Pennsylvania, where he completed all of his schooling, obtaining his B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. (1969) from Pennsylvania State University.

Diehl as a Museum Director in 1999, wearing his Academic Administrator Camouflage. A blazer and a necktie can make any man appear to be respectable and trustworthy.In March of 2021, Dick is introduces his new Blog, Mexican Archaeology: The Life and Times of Richard Gomez  which catalogues his colorful career with anecdotes about his exploits in archaeology. Last July 15, 2020, Dick conducted a virtual lecture for BEARC’s YouTube Channel. Here’s the YouTube Link for an instant replay of this lecture. 

The lecture, entitled La Mojarra, Veracruz: Stones, Scripts, and Failed Dreams of Glory, was presented on YouTube Live. 

Dr. Diehl has taught at California State College (1967-68), University of Missouri (1968-86), and University of Alabama (1986-2006), where also served as the Acting Director of the School of Music (1997-98) and the Executive Director of the University Museums (1998-2004). Dr. Diehl is now Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Alabama, where he kept teaching until 2009. Dr. Diehl was also Acting Director of Precolumbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks (1994-95). BEARC is incredibly fortunate to have him bringing such a wealth of experience to help grow the center.

Dr. Diehl was a longtime friend of George and Gene Stuart, having met them in the early 1980’s while at Dumbarton Oaks. As the research center’s Director of Operations, Dr. Diehl is dedicated to extending George’s legacy. He has been actively working in the library with our new Resident Librarian, Nancy Little, organizing our teaching facility, and developing professional talks and a public outreach program. Notably, Dr. Diehl is also donating several thousand books to significantly expand our Western Mesoamerican collection.

Heather Hurst

Dr. Heather Hurst, presented BEARC’s Virtual Lecture on YouTube February 24, 2021. “Assembling the World’s Most Difficult Puzzle: The Broken Maya Murals of San Bartolo, Guatemala.” A recording can be viewed on the BEARC YouTube Channel

Heather Hurst is an archaeologist specializing in ancient Mesoamerica. She has investigated and illustrated Maya murals, monumental sculptures, and architecture at sites including Bonampak, Copán, Holmul, Oxtotitlán, Palenque, Piedras Negras, San Bartolo and Xultún. By documenting these ancient artworks, Hurst’s creative work has contributed significantly to scholarly analysis and to cultural heritage preservation. Hurst’s interdisciplinary work facilitates dialogue between archaeologists, materials scientists, conservators, and art historians, and at the same time disseminates images that engage both academics and the public in the study of Maya culture. Her work has been published in National Geographic, Science, Antiquity, and the New York Times, and exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others. Hurst was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2004.

The intimate knowledge and precision required to articulate a calligraphic line in a manner that was true to original Maya murals inspired Hurst to explore the artists behind the paintings. Her goals as a scholar are driven by the human experience captured in the lines themselves. By characterizing how Maya artworks were created, Hurst strives to make visible the diverse roles of ancient Maya painters, scribes and sculptors. As a Guggenheim Fellow, Hurst will be illustrating a new corpus of Maya murals from San Bartolo, Guatemala. These recently reassembled broken fragments expand the corpus of known wall paintings and provide new insights into the origin of Maya religious beliefs.

Heather Hurst is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Skidmore College.

Gabrielle Vail

Gabrielle Vail holds research positions in Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is an affiliated researcher for UNC’s program InHerit: Indigenous Heritage Passed to Present. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Tulane University in 1996, at which time she served as the NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) Project Manager for the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Vail’s research focuses on the archaeology and epigraphy of Postclassic Maya cultures, as documented in the screenfold Maya codices, and on contemporary Maya cultural practices associated with weaving and textile production. She has received several NEH grants in support of her digital humanities research, which led to the creation of the online Maya Codices Database (, and currently has funding from the Unicode Consortium for encoding Maya glyphs. Her books include Códice de Dresde (forthcoming); Indigenous Conceptions of the Sky in Mesoamerica and the Andes (forthcoming); Códice de Madrid; Re-Creating Primordial Time: Foundation Rituals and Mythology in the Postclassic Maya Codices (with Christine Hernández); The New Catalog of Maya Hieroglyphs, Volume 2: Codical Texts (with Martha Macri); The Madrid Codex: New Approaches to Understanding an Ancient Maya Manuscript (co-edited with Anthony Aveni); Papers on the Madrid Codex (co-edited with Victoria Bricker); and The Archaeology of Coastal Belize. She leads workshops on the Maya codices for university and community groups throughout the U.S. and Latin America and is involved in cultural heritage programs based in Yucatán and Ecuador.

Dixie Watkins III

Dixie Watkins III atop the acropolis at Tonina, Chiapas.

Dixie Watkins III atop the acropolis at Tonina, Chiapas.

Dixie has worked for over 45+ years in the disciplines of planning, architecture, resource management, and landscape architecture. Initially this work involved comprehensive, recreational, and environmental planning, historic preservation, and urban design with the City of San Antonio. Subsequently he worked with UT San Antonio’s Center for Archaeological Research and Environmental Studies. Professionally he has collaborated with the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, San Antonio River Authority, Texas Nature Conservancy, Witte Museum, San Antonio Conservation Society, Texas Society of Architects, Big Bend Conservancy, Cibolo Nature Center, YMCA Camps, Japanese Tea Garden, Trinity University’s Urban Studies Program, and many private clients.

Dixie at bird rescue facility, Macaw Mountain near Copan, Honduras

Dixie at bird rescue facility, Macaw Mountain near Copan, Honduras.

He has contributed his considerable landscape architectural and cultural resource management expertise toward enhancing the landscape and infrastructure planning of Boundary End Farm and Campus. He is chair of the BEARC Land Committee.

As a longtime Mayanist, Dixie has explored many Maya sites during David Stuart’s Maya Field Workshops. These sites include Tikal, Copan, Palenque, Tonina, Yaxchilan, Bonampak, La Corona, El Zotz, Calakmul, Coba, Chichen Itza , Uxmal, Dzibanche, Uaxactun, El Mirador, Caracol, Lamanai, San Bartolo, Yaxha among others.

Dylan Clark

Dylan Clark

Dylan Clark

Dylan Clark is an Assistant State Archaeologist for North Carolina’s Office of State Archaeology, Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. He received his PhD in Anthropology from Harvard University in 2016, and his dissertation research explored the social organization and history of a Maya coastal port community through household archaeology at the island site of Isla Cerritos in Yucatan, Mexico. He also earned an MA in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and a BA in Anthropology and Spanish from Western Michigan University. In addition to Mesoamerican and Southeastern archaeology, his research also focuses on public and collaborative archaeology, museum studies, and heritage studies.

Dylan backpacking through Chichen Itza

Dylan backpacking through Chichen Itza

Prior to his current position, Dylan served as program director for InHerit: Indigenous Heritage Passed to Present, a non-profit program in the Research Laboratories of Archaeology at UNC-Chapel Hill that supports community-based cultural heritage education programs in the U.S. and Latin America.

In 2016-17, he taught courses at UNC-Asheville and Brevard College and was a George Stuart Residential Scholar at BEARC. He now serves on the fundraising and collections committees for BEARC’s Board of Directors.

John  S. Daigle

John Daigle is founder and host of the Mayanists Facebook Group blog. He provides communications and web design services for Boundary End Center. After a career in journalism with the NBC News affiliate in Houston, John’s interest in Maya archaeology and epigraphy began in 1984 as one of Linda Schele’s “glyphers” at the University of Texas. As web communications consultant for Maya Field Workshops and David Stuart, John has explored the sites of Palenque, Yaxchilan, Bonampak, Tonina, Tikal, Yaxha, Ceibal, Uaxactun, Copan, Quirigua, Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, Coba, Tulum. Today, John teaches technical communication and instructional design at Metropolitan University of Colorado at Denver. He is a frequent speaker at national web authoring and eLearning conferences. John has a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Houston.

In 2015, John and his wife, Vicki were married in a Maya ceremony at the site of Yaxha in the Peten, performed by Reginaldo Chayax Huex in the Itza Mayan language.

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