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Jennifer Meanwell

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 8-431
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 253-3225

Research Affiliate

My research has focused on the ancient pottery production technology in the Middle Balsas Region of Guerrero, Mexico. I investigated the production decisions made by potters through petrographic analysis of ancient sherds, ethnographic work with potters in the region, and the testing of modern replicas. The Middle Balsas region has been largely uninvestigated by systematic archaeological study. My research results are the first to set forth definitively the occupational sequence in the Middle Balsas from 300 BC to AD 1300. My current responsibility at CMRAE is to co-teach the Materials in Ancient Societies: Ceramics class offered by the Center for graduate students from the CMRAE consortium institutions. The class includes lectures about the material properties of ceramics, a seminar on the archaeological implications of ceramics research, and laboratory sessions focused on learning ceramic petrography.

Selected Publications

2008 Ancient Engineering: Selective Ceramic Processing in the Middle Balsas Region of Guerrero, Mexico. Unpublished PhD thesis, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT.

2007 Middle Balsas Project: An Investigation of Pottery Functionality and Chronology. Final Report submitted to the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies. Available at