Contact: Ellen Sterner
SMU News & Media Relations
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October 9, 2002


DALLAS (SMU) -- Two members of the anthropology faculty at SMU have been appointed to endowed positions.

David Freidel, an anthropology professor who has been researching Maya archaeological sites since 1971, has been appointed a University Distinguished Professor.

Freidel has taught at SMU since 1974 and holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard University. His research focuses on pre-Columbian Maya centers in Belize and southeastern Mexico. He directed long-term work at Cerros, Belize, from 1974-1982 and at Yaxuna, Mexico, from 1986-1996. He also is the co-author of three books: Cozumel: Late Maya Settlement Patterns (1984), A Forest of Kings (1990) and Maya Cosmos (1993).

Freidel currently is working with a Guatemalan archaeologist and a team of graduate assistants on a long-term archaeological research program at the ancient Maya city of Waka in Peten, Guatemala, as well as completing a book on Maya warfare.

University Distinguished Professorships are awarded to outstanding faculty members already working at the university who meet the highest standards of academic achievement. SMU currently has six other University Distinguished Professors: Annemarie Weyl Carr, art history; Ed Countryman, history; Jerome Butler, electrical engineering; Lewis Binford, anthropology; Alan Bromberg, Dedman School of Law; and Alessandra Comini, art history.

David Meltzer, an anthropology professor who studies early populations of Ice Age North America, has been appointed to the Henderson-Morrison Chair in the Department of Anthropology. The chair was created in 1974 and was previously held by Fred Wendorf, who served on the SMU faculty from 1964 until his retirement this year.

Meltzer received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Washington and joined the SMU faculty in 1984. He is the author or editor of The First Americans: Search and Research, Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, The Archaeology of William Henry Holmes and Search for the First Americans, along with more than 100 scholarly papers. He also is the director of the Quest Archaeological Research Fund, an endowment established in 1996 to support field and laboratory research on the first Americans. He and his team of graduate students conduct archaeological fieldwork on the Great Plains and in the Rocky Mountains.

"These two appointments are deserved recognition by the university of the scholarly stature of these two faculty members in particular, and of the quality of the Department of Anthropology at SMU in general," said Caroline Brettell, chair of the Department of Anthropology.