Shawn Morton, PhD

Shawn Morton Lecturer
Northern Arizona University
Blg 70 Rm #247


  • Archaeology
  • Complex Societies/Civilizations
  • State Formation Processes
  • Social Networks and Communities
  • Urban & Landscape Theory and Analysis
  • Ancient Mesoamerica and the Caribbean (esp. Maya Area)


Ph.D. (2015) – Archaeology & Anthropology – University of Calgary
M.A. (2007) – Archaeology – University of Calgary
Hon. B.A. (2003) – Archaeology – Wilfrid Laurier University


I am an anthropological archaeologist interested in the development of early civilizations, particularly of the urban societies of the Maya Area.  Much of my work has focused on aspects of public performance and ritual within the ancient cityscape and broader landscape, including extensive work in the deep cave contexts of Belize.  I am also interested in modifying and applying techniques of analysis and modeling used in the study of modern urban contexts and exploring their utility in the ancient context.  I currently co-Direct an archaeological research project and associated fieldschool – the Central Belize Archaeological Survey (CBAS) project; -- focused on the ancient city of Tipan Chen Uitz.

At present, my favorite color is orange… no, green… no, definitely orange, my favorite author is the late, great, Terry Pratchett, and I seem to have developed a minor obsession with Kenny Loggins.


S.G. Morton, M. Isa & G. Wrobel (2015) Caves Were the Houses of the Earth Lord, Right?: Insight into the Domestic Economy of Central Belize from the Cave Context. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology. 12: 107-114.

S.G. Morton (2015) The Táino Use of Caves. Caribbean Connections: A Publication of the Field Research Centre. 4 (1): 1-16.

C. Andres, C.G.B. Helmke, S.G. Morton, G.D. Wrobel & J.J. González (2014) Contextualizing the Glyphic Texts of Tipan Chen Uitz, Cayo District, Belize. Latin American Antiquity. 25 (1): 46-64.

S.G. Morton, M.M. Peuramaki-Brown, P.C. Dawson & J.D. Seibert (2014) Peopling the Past: Interpreting models for pedestrian movement in ancient civic-ceremonial centres. In Mapping Spatial Relations, Their Perceptions and Dynamics: The City Today and in the Past, Susanne Rau and Ekkehard Schönherr, eds., pp. 25-44. Springer, Heidelberg.

G.D. Wrobel, R. Shelton, S. Morton, J. Lynch & C. Andres (2013) The View of Maya Mortuary Cave Ritual from Overlook Rockshelter, Caves Branch River Valley, Central Belize. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies. 75 (2): 126-135.

C. Helmke, J.J. Awe, S.G. Moton & G. Iannone (2012) The Archaeological and Epigraphic Significance of Cuychen, Macal Valley, Belize. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology. 9: 75-89.

S.G. Morton, C. Helmke & J.J. Awe (2012) Investigations at Actun Neko, Caves Branch River Valley, Belize. In Heart of Earth: Studies in Maya Ritual Cave Use, James E. Brady, ed., pp. 83-94. Bulletin 23. Association for Mexican Cave Studies, Austin.

S.G. Morton, M.M. Peuramaki-Brown, P.C. Dawson & J.D. Seibert (2012) Civic and Household Community Relationships at Teotihuacan, Mexico: a space syntax approach. Cambridge Archaeological Journal. 22 (3): 387-400.

S.G. Morton (2012) Ritual Procession and the Creation of Civitas Among the Ancient Maya: a case study from Naachtun, Guatemala. Canadian Journal of Archaeology. 36 (1): 141-165.

G.D. Wrobel, C.R. Andres, S.G. Morton, R. Shelton, A. Michael & C. Helmke (2012) Ritual Landscapes of the Caves Branch River Valley. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology. 9: 233-244.

C.R. Andres, G.D. Wrobel, J.J. Gonzalez, S.G. Morton & R. Shelton (2011) Power and Status in Central Belize: insights from the Caves Branch Archaeological Survey project’s 2010 field season. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology. 8: 101-113.

C.R. Andres, G.D. Wrobel & S.G. Morton (2010) Tipan Chen Uitz (“Fortress Mountain Well”): a major “new” Maya center in the Cayo District, Belize. Mexicon. 32: 88-94.

G. Wrobel, S. Morton & C. Andres (2010) An Introduction to the First Season of the Caves Branch Archaeological Survey. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology. 7: 73-84.