Director, The Mesoamerica Center
Linda and David Schele Chair in the Art and Writing of Mesoamerica
Office: Art Building, Room 1.412
David Stuart's interests in the traditional cultures of Mesoamerica are wide-ranging, but his primary research focuses is the archaeology and epigraphy of ancient Maya civilization. He received his PhD in Anthropology from Vanderbilt University in 1995 and taught at Harvard University for eleven years before arriving at UT Austin in 2004, where he teaches in the Department of Art and Art History. Stuart regularly conducts field research at numerous archaeological sites in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, mostly focusing on the documentation and study of Maya sculpture and inscriptions. His major research focus of late is on the art and epigraphy at Copan (Honduras), Palenque (Mexico), and Piedras Negras, La Corona, and San Bartolo (Guatemala). Stuart's early work on the decipherment of Maya hieroglyphs led to a MacArthur Fellowship in 1984. His publications include Ten Phonetic Syllables (1987), which laid much of the groundwork for the now-accepted methodology of Maya hieroglyphic decipherment. In 2003 he published a volume in the ongoing Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions series (Peabody Museum, Harvard University), devoted to drawings and photographs of sculpture from Piedras Negras, Guatemala. His most recent book is The Order of Days: The Maya World and the Truth about 2012 (Random House). Stuart's research and contributions to Maya studies were recently featured in the award-winning PBS documentary "Cracking the Maya Code" (NightFire Films, 2008). Stuart is Director of The Mesoamerica Center at The University of Texas at Austin, which fosters multi-disciplinary studies on ancient American art and culture. He also oversees the activities of the newly established Casa Herrera, the university's academic research center in Antigua, Guatemala, devoted to studies in the art, archaeology and culture of Mesoamerica.
Assistant Director, The Mesoamerica Center
Office: Art Building, Room 1.412
Astrid Runggaldier is the Assistant Director for the Mesoamerica Center and oversees programming of educational, scholarly, and public activities for the Mesoamerica Center at UT Austin and Casa Herrera in Antigua, Guatemala. Dr. Runggaldier is a Mesoamericanist interested in particular in Maya culture and in anthropological approaches to architecture, households, and built environments in the context of the ancient civilizations of the Americas. She holds a doctorate in archaeology from Boston University with a dissertation on the architecture of the Maya site of San Bartolo, has extensive field experience in Guatemala and Belize, and has been leading study abroad programs in Central America for UT Austin and other US institutions for several years. Following administrative and teaching experiences at Boston University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Skidmore College, Dr. Runggaldier joined UT Austin and the Mesoamerica Center in 2012 as lecturer and faculty leader of international programming. Since then, she has undertaken management of daily operations and of special initiatives for the Mesoamerica Center. She additionally manages UT’s Art and Art History Collection of Pre-Columbian artifacts and ethnographic textiles from the Americas, and contributes to the teaching of undergraduate classes in the Department of Art and Art History.