Daniela Triadan

Professor, Anthropology

Emil W. Haury Building, Room 404A

About Daniela Triadan

My research interests focus on the study of the sociopolitical development of small sedentary societies and societies that were more hierarchically organized, as well as prehistoric economic systems. Methodologically I specialize in ceramic technology, provenance studies, and the integration of material analyses into archaeological research. To pursue my research interests, I have been conducting extensive field and laboratory research in the American Southwest and Mesoamerica.

My projects in the Southwest include two large-scale studies on late prehistoric polychrome production and distribution, one centered on White Mountain Red Ware from east-central Arizona and the other on Chihuahua Polychrome from the Casas Grandes region in Chihuahua, Mexico.

My research in the Maya area included work in Belize and I have been co-directing the Aguateca Archaeological Project in Guatemala. Our research there was geared toward examining social, political, and economic organization and its change through the analysis of domestic assemblages. Excavations of elite residential structures at the epicenter of this rapidly abandoned city revealed the richest in situ floor assemblages found to date at a Classic Maya site, providing a unique opportunity for reconstructing Classic Maya household organization.

I have also been the Co-director of a project at the site of Ceibal, Guatemala, where my colleagues and I have been investigating the processes that led to the development of sedentism and social complexity during the Early Middle Preclassic, as well as the political disintegration during the Terminal Classic. This research is providing new information of the foundation of Maya Civilization as well as the so-called Maya collapse.

My colleagues and I recently started a new project in the middle Usumacinta River drainage in Tabasco and Chiapas, Mexico. We are excavating several Early to Middle Preclassic sites with early ritual architectural configurations called E-Groups. We are interested in possible connections of this area with the western Maya lowlands, including the site of Ceibal. We believe that this area may have been crucial in interactions between the Olmec area on the Gulf Coast and the earliest Maya.


Selected Publications

MacLellan, Jessica, and Daniela Triadan (2023). Classic Maya Figurines as Materials of Socialization:Evidence from Ceibal, Guatemala. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 72: 101548. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2023.101548.

Triadan, Daniela, and Takeshi Inomata (2023). The Roots of Urbanization: Early Middle PreclassicTransformations to a Sedentary Lifestyle at Ceibal, Guatemala. In Building an Archaeology of Maya Urbanism: Flexibility and Planning in the American Tropics, edited by Damien B. Marken and M. Charlotte Arnauld, pp. 53-72. University Press of Colorado.

Takeshi Inomata, Juan Carlos Fernandez-Diaz, Daniela Triadan, Miguel García Mollinedo, Flory Pinzón, Melina García Hernández, Atasta Flores, Ashley Sharpe, Timothy Beach, Gregory W. L. Hodgins, Juan Javier Durón Díaz, Antonio Guerra Luna, Luis Guerrero Chávez, María de Lourdes Hernández Jiménez, Manuel Moreno Díaz (2021). Origins and Spread of Formal Ceremonial Complexes in the Olmec and Maya Regions Revealed by Airborne Lidar. Nature Human Behaviorhttps://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-021-01218-1

Takeshi Inomata, Daniela Triadan, Verónica A. Vázquez López, Juan Carlos Fernandez Diaz, Takayuki Omori, María Belén Méndez Bauer, Melina García Hernández, Timothy Beach, Clarissa Cagnato, Kazuo Aoyama, Hiroo Nasu (2020). Monumental Architecture at Aguada Fénix and the Rise of Maya Civilization. Nature 582:530-533.

Triadan, Daniela, and Takeshi Inomata (2020). Maya Economic Organization and Power: A View from Elite Households at Aguateca. In The Real Business of Ancient Maya Economies: From Farmer's Fields to Ruler's Realms, edited by Marilyn A. Masson, David A. Freidel, and Arthur A. Demarest, pp. 489-506. University Press of Florida. 

Triadan, Daniela, Eduardo Gamboa Carrera, M. James Blackman, and Ronald L. Bishop (2018). Sourcing Chihuahuan Polychrome Ceramics: Assessing Medio Period Economic Organization. Latin American Antiquity 29(1):143-168.

Triadan, Daniela, Victor Castillo, Takeshi Inomata, Juan Manuel Palomo, María Belén Méndez, Mónica Cortave, Jessica MacLellan, Melissa Burham, and Erick Ponciano (2017). Social Transformations in a Middle Preclassic Community: Elite Residential Complexes at Ceibal.  Ancient Mesoamerica 28(1):233-264.

Inomata, Takeshi, Daniela Triadan, Jessica MacLellan, Melissa Burham, Kazuo Aoyama, Juan Manuel Palomo, Hitoshi Yonenobu, Flory Pinzón, and Hiroo Nasu (2017). Political Collapse and Dynastic Origins in the Maya Lowlands: High-precision Radiocarbon Dating at Ceibal, Guatemala. Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences (PNAS) 114(6):1293-1298.

Inomata, Takeshi, Jessica MacLellan, Daniela Triadan, Jessica Munson, Melissa Burham, Kazuo Aoyama, Hiroo Nasu, Flory Pinzon, and Hitoshi Yonenobu (2015). Development of Sedentary Communities in the Maya Lowlands: Coexisting of Mobile Groups and Public Ceremonies at Ceibal, Guatemala. Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences (PNAS) 112(14):4268-4273.

Inomata, Takeshi, and Daniela Triadan (editors) (2014). Life and Politics at the Royal Court of Aguateca: Artifacts, Analytical Data, and Synthesis. Aguateca Archaeological Project First Phase Monograph Series, Volume 3. Takeshi Inomata and Daniela Triadan, series editors. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.

Inomata Takeshi, Daniela Triadan, Kazuo Aoyama, Victor Castillo, and Hitoshi Yonenobu (2013). Early Ceremonial Constructions at Ceibal, Guatemala, and the Origins of Lowland Maya Civilization. Science 340:467-471.

Triadan Daniela (2013). Compositional and Distributional Analyses of some 14th Century Ceramics from Kinishba Pueblo: Implications for Pottery Production and Migration Processes. In Unsilencing Kinishba: James B. Shaeffer’s Mid-century Excavations and Contemporary Perspectives, edited by John R. Welch, pp. 209-242. Arizona State Museum, Tucson.

Inomata, Takeshi, and Daniela Triadan (editors) (2010). Burned Palaces and Elite Residences of Aguateca: Excavations and Ceramics. Aguateca Archaeological Project First Phase Monograph Series, Volume 1. Takeshi Inomata and Daniela Triadan, series editors. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.

Triadan, Daniela (2007). Warriors, Nobles, Commoners and Beasts: Figurines from Elite Buildings at Aguateca, Guatemala. Latin American Antiquity 18(3):269-294.

Triadan, Daniela (2006). Dancing Gods: Ritual, Performance, and Political Organization in the Prehistoric Southwest. In Theatres of Power and Community: Archaeology of Performance and Politics, edited by T. Inomata and L. Coben, pp. 159-186. Altamira Press, Walnut Creek.

Triadan, Daniela, and M. Nieves Zedeño (2004.) The Political Geography and Territoriality of 14th Century Settlements in the Mogollon Highlands of East-central Arizona. In The Protohistoric Pueblo World: A.D. 1275-1600, edited by E. Charles Adams and Andrew I. Duff, pp. 95-107. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Inomata, Takeshi, Daniela Triadan, Erick Ponciano, Estela Pinto, Richard E. Terry, and Markus Eberl (2002). Domestic and Political Lives of Classic Maya Elites: The Excavation of Rapidly Abandoned Structures at Aguateca, Guatemala. Latin American Antiquity 13(3):305-330.

Triadan, Daniela (2000). Elite Household Subsistence at Aguateca, Guatemala. Mayab 13:46-56.

Triadan, Daniela (1997). Ceramic Commodities and Common Containers: Production and Distribution of White Mountain Red Ware in the Grasshopper Region, Arizona. Anthropological Paper 61. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.


Courses Taught

ANTH 160A1 World Archaeology (formerly Patterns in Prehistory)

ANTH 160A1 Patterns in Prehistory (formerly TRAD 101)

TRAD 101 Patterns in Prehistory

ANTH 320Ancient Civilizations

ANTH 696A Aggression, Violence, and Warfare in Prehistory, Fall 2005, Fall 2008, Fall 2011

ANTH 496F/596F Ceramic Analysis Seminar lLaboratory course)

ANTH 696A Household Archaeology

ANTH 205 From Clovis to Coronado: Archaeology of the Southwest


Areas of Study

US Southwest/Northwest Mexico, Mesoamerica



Aguateca Archaeological Project

Ceibal-Petexbatun Archaeological Project

Middle Usumacinta Archaeological Project


Research Interests

Archaeology, Southwest and Mesoamerica

Ceramic production and distribution

Compositional analyses

Prehistoric social and economic organization

Development of complex societies