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John W. Hoopes Ph.D.


John W. Hoopes, Ph.D., has taught at University of Kansas since 1989, where he has served as Acting Director for the Center of Latin American Studies (1996-97) and Director of the Global Indigenous Nations Studies Program (2008-11). He teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses on the archaeology of ancient Mexico, Central America, and South America as well as on shamanism and the history of anthropology. Prof. Hoopes' course "Archaeological Myths & Realities" teaches critical thinking using examples of problematic interpretations of the ancient past. He was awarded the W.T. Kemper Fellowship for excellence in teaching in 2008.

Prof. Hoopes received his B.A. in Archaeology at Yale University in 1980, where his principal advisor was Michael Coe. Prof. Hoopes completed his Ph.D. under the direction of Gordon Willey at Harvard in 1987. His dissertation, "Early Ceramics and the Origins of Village Life in Lower Central America," focused on the earliest known pottery in Costa Rica. The research for it was conducted during his participation in a project directed by Payson Sheets of the University of Colorado.

Prof. Hoopes has conducted fieldwork in Costa Rica since 1978, having worked on projects in several different parts of the country. He is currently co-director of a project undertaking archaeological investigations of Nuevo Corinto, the remains of an ancient village in the Caribbean lowlands of northeastern Costa Rica. In addition to Central America, Prof. Hoopes has done archaeological fieldwork in Ecuador (with a project under the direction of Scott Raymond of the University of Calgary), Virginia, and New Mexico. He's the author of numerous articles and the co-editor of two books, The Emergence of Pottery (Smithsonian Press, 1995) and Gold and Power in Ancient Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia (Dumbarton Oaks, 2003).

Prof. Hoopes was one of the presenters at the Texas Maya Meetings at UT-Austin this past March and he was also featured in "Apocalypse 2012," a film directed by Cynthia Banks for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that's been airing fairly regularly on CNBC. He's been interviewed for two other documentaries on 2012, one directed by Graham Townsley for the Discovery Channel Latin America and another directed by Paul Murton of Timeline Films for Channel 4 in the UK (neither of which has yet been released). Prof. Hoopes also co-authored a paper that will appear in a special 2012-themed issue of the German journal Zeitschrift für Anomalistik and has been working on a book-length MS. about the history of the 2012 phenomenon.

His longstanding interest in pseudoarchaeology, pseudoscience, and critical thinking stemmed from a youthful fascination with the writings of Erich von Däniken and Carlos Castaneda in the early 1970s. While a graduate student at Harvard, Hoopes assisted Prof. Stephen Williams with the development of a popular undergraduate course called "Fantastic Archaeology" (the content of which was later used in a book by Williams with the same title). His interest in the 2012 phenomenon was provoked by participation at the Burning Man festival in 2002, 2003, and 2005, where Prof. Hoopes learned about its contemporary manifestations. Since 2004, Prof. Hoopes has been a regular participant and sometime moderator of the Year 2012 discussion forum at

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