Arianne Boileau, PhD

Title: Assistant Professor
Research Director, Canadian Latin American Archaeology Society (CLAAS)

Room: B 349C
Phone: 403.440.6432


2021 Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Florida
Dissertation: Identifying Household-level Political Economy on the Maya/Spanish Frontier: A Zooarchaeological Perspective from Lamanai, Belize

2014 MA, Department of Anthropology, Trent University
Thesis: Maya Exploitation of Animal Resources during the Middle Preclassic Period: An Archaeozoological Analysis from Pacbitun, Belize

2010 BA, Département des Sciences Historiques, Université Laval

Research Interests

Human-environment Interactions, Archaeology of the Maya Subarea and Mesoamerica, Political Economy, Colonialism, Trade, Husbandry, Subsistence, Zooarchaeological Method and Theory, Taphonomy, Isotope Analysis, Ancient DNA, Environmental Archaeology.

Current Research

I am an anthropological archaeologist studying human-environment interactions through zooarchaeology, taphonomy, biomolecular and geochemical analyses, and ethnohistory. I have participated in archaeological projects in Belize, Mexico, France, and Canada, and analyzed zooarchaeological remains from these countries, as well as Guatemala, Peru, and the southeastern United States. I also worked as an assistant collections manager for the Environmental Archaeology Program at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Before joining MRU, I was a Fonds de recherche du Québec Société et culture Postdoctoral Fellow at Simon Fraser University (2021-2022).

My research program focuses on investigating the dynamic relationships between natural and cultural landscapes at local and regional scales. I examine how and why Indigenous peoples procured, consumed, transformed, and discarded animal resources in the pre-Columbian and post-European contact Maya world and, more broadly, Mesoamerica. Using social zooarchaeology and historical ecology, I explore questions about the resilience of Indigenous communities under conditions of colonialism, the development of socio-political complexity in the Maya world, and human interactions with specific nonhuman animals, such as freshwater turtles and dogs. I am also interested in improving zooarchaeological methodology. Ongoing collaborative projects include developing a new method of quantification in zooarchaeology (the Number of Distinct Elements) and publishing taxonomic and specimen-level trait data in open-access biological and archaeological repositories.

My current project investigates the long-term interactions between Mesoamerican groups and the Central American river turtle (Dermatemys mawii). More specifically, I am interested in evaluating the impact of anthropic and environmental pressures on turtle population structure and diversity in the Maya area over time and documenting the various practices in which the Maya used turtles, such as husbandry, trade, and rituals. This research program is supported by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant.

Teaching Interests

Introduction to Archaeology, Methods in Archaeology, Zooarchaeology, Ancient Foodways, Maya Civilization, Anthropology of the Anthropocene.

Selected Publications

Boileau, Arianne, Nicolas Delsol, and Kitty F. Emery (2020) Human-Animal Relations in the Maya World. In The Maya World, edited by Scott R. Hutson and Traci Ardren, pp. 164–182. Routledge, New York.

Boileau, Arianne, and Norbert Stanchly (2020) Middle Preclassic Faunal Utilisation at Pacbitun, Belize: Evidence for Social Differentiation, Exchange, and Craft Specialisation. In An Archaeological Reconstruction of Ancient Maya Life at Pacbitun, Belize, edited by Terry G. Powis, Sheldon Skaggs, and George Micheletti, pp. 41–54. Archaeology of the Maya 4. BAR International Series 2970. BAR Publishing, Oxford, UK.

Cunningham-Smith, Petra, Ashley E. Sharpe, Arianne Boileau, Erin K. Thornton, and Kitty F. Emery (2020) Food, Friend, or Offering: Exploring the Role of Maya Dogs in the Zooarchaeological Record. In Her Cup for Sweet Cacao: The Social Uses of Food in Ancient Maya Society, edited by Traci A. Ardren, pp. 161–187. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX.

Boileau, Arianne (2019) El uso de la tafonomía arqueozoológica para examinar la estratigrafía de la época postclásica-colonial en Lamanai, Belice. Cuadernos del Instituto Nacional de Antropología y Pensamiento Latinoamericano – Series Especiales 7(2):34–42. 

Morin, Eugène, Cédric Beauval, Arianne Boileau, Elspeth Ready, and Véronique Laroulandie (2019) The Number of Distinct Elements: Extending a Landmark-based Counting Unit to Other Taxa. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 24:773–784.

Rice, Prudence M., Arianne Boileau, Leslie G. Cecil, Susan D. deFrance, Carolyn Freiwald, Nathan J. Meissner, Timothy W. Pugh, Don S. Rice, and Matthew P. Yacubic (2018) Zacpeten Structure 719: Activities at a Contact-period Popol Nah before Rapid Abandonment. Ancient Mesoamerica 29(1):137–155.