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Holley Moyes

Holley is a doctoral candidate at the University at Buffalo. She is funded by an NSF-sponsored Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) grant for the development of interdisciplinary research in Geographic Information Science. She received her MA from Florida Atlantic University in 2001 for her spatial analysis of the Main Chamber of Actun Tunichil Muknal.

She is currently conducting research at Chechem Ha cave for her dissertation. Her interest is in the function of ritual in society. Current theories suggest that ritual may function both as a stabilizing force in social reproduction as well as a mechanism that may be utilized by agents in social transformation. A major theoretical question is, under what conditions would one expect ritual to function in one capacity or the other? By tracking changes in ritual practice over time within societies, and correlating these changes with social and ecological events, it is possible to shed light on this issue.

Holley's research project The Ritual Use of Chechem Ha Cave, Belize: a study of changes in ritual practice over time, using GIS, examines these changes over a 2000-year period of cultural history. Changes in ritual practice will be assessed by evaluating the:

    Spatial components of the periodicity of use.
    Frequency of usage.
    Feature constructions/cave modifications.
    Artifact assemblage.

Periodicity in the use of space within the tunnel system will be assessed using excavation data and radiocarbon dating. Use-frequency will be evaluated using microstratigraphic analyses. Feature placement, modifications to the cave, and the artifact assemblage will be correlated with these data to create a model of cave use that spans its cultural history. To analyze and illustrate the results of the study, a Geographic Information System (GIS) will be used to create a 3-D data model of the cave as it appeared at different points in time. Results of this study will be vital in linking ritual behavior to local social systems and ultimately to broader theories of social change.

Click here to download Holley's Doctoral Dissertation (pdf)

Click here to download Holley's CV (pdf)