Lori E. Wright

Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology, Texas A&M University

Anthropology Building
Room 316B
(979) 862-7665


Temple of Mundo Perdido at Tikal


Current course information is available at elearning.tamu.edu for students registered in the courses.

My Graduate Students


Ph.D. 1994- The University of Chicago
M.A. 1989- The University of Chicago
B.Sc. 1987- Trent University

Research Interests:

My research is centred on the interaction of cultural behavior and human biology in the past using skeletal biology. My research program explores the implications of human behavior for human biology among the Maya of Central America and also examines how health may have shaped cultural transitions during ancient Maya history. Taking a broad comparative and historical perspective on the Maya biocultural past, I focus on two broad areas of biocultural research: 1) reconstruction of prehistoric diets through stable isotopic analysis of bones and teeth, and 2) evaluation of health status through pathological lesions on skeletons and through skeletal indications of growth arrest during childhood. Currently most of my research consists of bioarchaeological analyses of status-related discrepancies in diet and health at the site of Tikal in Guatemala. The research also addresses residential mobility using strontium isotopes. I am involved in collaborative research at several other Maya sites, especially Kaminaljuyu, and Piedras Negras, and have worked on a number of archaeological projects in both Guatemala and Belize.

Selected Publications:

Wright, L.E.
    2006    Diet, Health and Status among the Pasión Maya:  A Reappraisal of the Collapse.  Vanderbilt Institute of Mesoamerican Archaeology Series, Volume 2, Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville.  256 pages.

Wright, L.E.
    2005    In search of Yax Nuun Ayiin I:  Revisiting the Tikal Project’s Burial 10.  Ancient Mesoamerica 16(1): 89-100. 

Wright, L.E.
    2005    Identifying immigrants to Tikal, Guatemala:  Defining local variability in strontium isotope ratios of human tooth enamel. Journal of Archaeological Science 32(4):  555-566.

Wright, L.E.
2003   La muerte y el estatus economico:  Investigando el simbolismo mortuorio y el acceso a los recursos alimenticios entre los mayas. In A. Ciudad, M.H. Ruz, M.J. Iglesias (eds.) Antropologia de la Eternidad:  La Muerte en la Cultura Maya.  Madrid:  Sociedad Espanola de Estudios Mayas, Publicaciones Num. 7.  pp. 175-193.

Wright, L.E., and M.A. Vasquez
2003   Estimating long bone length from fragmentary remains:  forensic standards from Guatemala. American Journal of Physical Anthropology
120(3): 233-251. (link to pdf)

Wright, L.E., and C.J. Yoder.
2003   Recent progress in Bioarchaeology:  Approaches to ‘the osteological paradox.’  Journal of Archaeological Research
11(1):  43-70.  (link to pdf)

Wright, L.E., H.P. Schwarcz, and R. Acevedo
2000   La
dieta de los habitantes de Topoxte, una reconstruccion isotopica.  In W. Wurster (ed) El Sitio Maya de Topoxte: Investigaciones en una isla del lago Yaxha, Peten, Guatemala. Mainz, Germany: Verlag Philipp von Zabern. Pp. 158-164.

Emery, K.F., L.E. Wright, and H.P. Schwarcz
2000  Isotopic analysis of ancient deer bone: biotic stability in Collapse Period Maya land-use. Journal of Archaeological Science
27(6): 537-550. (link to pdf)

Wright, L.E.
1999  The elements of Maya diets:  Alkaline earth baselines and paleodietary reconstruction in the Pasion Region.  In C.D. White (ed.), Reconstructing Ancient Maya Diet.
 Salt Lake City:  University of Utah Press.  pp. 197-219.

Wright, L.E. and H.P. Schwarcz
1999  Correspondence between stable carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen isotopes in human tooth enamel and dentine: Infant diets and weaning at Kaminaljuyu. Journal of Archaeological Science
26: 1159-1170. (link to pdf)

Wright, L.E. and F. Chew
1998  Porotic hyperostosis and paleoepidemiology: A forensic perspective on anemia among the Ancient Maya. American Anthropologist
100(4): 924-939. 

Wright, L.E. and H.P. Schwarcz
1998  Stable carbon and oxygen isotopes in human tooth enamel: Identifying breastfeeding and weaning in prehistory. American Journal of Physical Anthropology
106(1): 1-18.  (link to pdf & erratum pdf)

Wright, L.E.
1997  Biological perspectives on the collapse of the Pasion Maya. Ancient Mesoamerica
8: 267-273.

Wright, L.E.
1997  Ecology or society? Paleodiet and the collapse of the Pasion Maya Lowlands. In S.L. Whittington and D.M. Reed (eds.), Bones of the Maya: Studies of Ancient Skeletons
. Smithsonian Institution Press. pp. 181-195.

Wright, L.E.
1997  Intertooth patterns of hypoplasia expression: Implications for childhood health in the Classic Maya collapse. American Journal of Physical Anthropology
102(2): 233-247. (link to pdf)

Wright, L.E. and C.D. White
1996  Human biology in the Classic Maya collapse: Evidence from paleopathology and paleodiet. Journal of World Prehistory
10(2): 147-198.

Wright, L.E. and H.P. Schwarcz
1996  Infrared and isotopic evidence for diagenesis of bone apatite at Dos Pilas, Guatemala: paleodietary implications. Journal of Archaeological Science
23(6): 933-944. (link to pdf)

Burton, J.H. and L.E. Wright
1995  Nonlinearity in the relationship between bone Sr/Ca and diet: Paleodietary implications. American Journal of Physical Anthropology
96(3): 273-282.

White, C.D., L.E. Wright, and D.M. Pendergast
1994  Biological disruption in the Early Colonial Period at Lamanai: In C.S. Larsen and G.R. Milner (eds.) In the Wake of Contact: Biological Responses to Conquest
. New York: Wiley-Liss. pp. 135-145.