Research and Education

Research and Education

CSSR Projects

The CSSR engages in and supports projects that make significant scholarly contributions, and provide our students with the opportunity to work with researchers across the social sciences, giving them both a foundation in research methods, and unique field experiences.

Research Projects

  • Archaeology in Belize

The Maya Research Program (MRP) is a non-profit organization (501 C3) that sponsors archaeological and ethnographic research in Middle America. Each summer since 1992, MRP has supported archaeological research in northwestern Belize. The Blue Creek Archaeological Project includes research at numerous sites including Blue Creek, Xnoha, Nojol Nah, Tulix Mul, Tznum, and Grey Fox. (You can read many MRP publications here.) MRP has been instrumental in documenting and protecting numerous Maya sites in northwestern Belize. Over 3000 students and volunteers have participated in the project in the past 25 years. The current Blue Creek project team includes faculty members and graduate students from over a dozen universities worldwide and is affiliated with the University of Texas at Tyler.

2017 marks MRP’s Blue Creek Archaeological Project’s 26th archaeological field season in northwestern Belize.  MRP is proud to support a vast range of talented researchers from across the globe under this project’s umbrella. Our research associates include not only archaeologists, but also soil scientists, geoarchaeologists, geographers, conservationists, cultural anthropologists, bioarchaeologists, and botanists.

From May to July of each year, MRP hosts four two-week sessions for students and volunteers at Blue Creek. Everyone is a full participant in the effort and is involved with field excavations and laboratory work. You can read more about what to expect at the MRP's field school in our Participant Guide.

Scholarships and fellowships are available.

You can read more on our website: http://

  • Underwater Maya Project – Paynes Creek National Park, Belize

cory sills

Dr. Cory Sills locating wooden posts at an underwater archaeology site in Paynes Creek National Park, Belize

The center supports collaborative research by Dr. Cory Sills on the Underwater Maya archaeology project directed by Dr. Heather McKillop of Louisiana State University. The project focuses on ancient Maya (A.D. 300-900) wooden architecture that has been preserved underwater in a peat bog in Paynes Creek National Park, Belize. The wood has been spectacularly preserved making its discovery an important international find since wood normally decays in the tropics. The wooden buildings are part of a large-scale salt production industry that occurred along the coast of Belize during ancient times. The project combines traditional archaeological methods including excavations, water screening, mapping, and artifact analysis with public outreach in nearby communities and 3D imaging and printing. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and an Archaeological Institute of America Site Preservation grant.  For more information about this project please contact Dr. Cory Sills at and visit the project website

  • Lake Bob Sandlin State Park, Titus County, Texas

The CSSR performed a GPR survey of the historic Fort Sherman Cemetery at Lake Bob Sandlin State Park, in May of 2015. The survey identified 16 deep, and 11 shallow, graves, including both adult and sub-adult burials. The CSSR is currently working with Texas Parks and Wildlife to conduct a comprehensive geophysical survey of the historic cemetery and the surrounding area, and the historic Frank Benson site.

  • Tyler, Texas – Business Education

In 2016 the CSSR worked in partnership with the Tyler Area Business Council to design a survey administered to local area businesses to assess employer needs. CSSR staff led a focus group consisting of representatives from local area businesses to engage community members directly in the development of survey questions. The survey was administered in the summer of 2016. Survey results were analyzed and presented to the Tyler Area Business Council, providing the information needed to better address employer needs, thus potentially encouraging job growth, in the Tyler area.

  • Voices from Small Places

Initiated in 2014, and housed at the Center for Regional Heritage Research at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, Voices from Small Places is a multidisciplinary project that involves scholars from both The University of Texas at Tyler, and SFASU. This project focuses on documenting and preserving the history of small places (population under 100) found throughout East Texas. It uses a unique combination of methods to create a multidimensional history including photovoice, oral history interviews, a historic resources survey, and the development of a digital collection. Through these methods the history of these small communities is documented and made available to the public. In addition to providing information for research, by documenting the history of these small places and placing them back into the larger historical narrative, East Texas is better understood as a region.

More information about the project may be found at