Dr. Gabrielle Vail

Research Labs of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill


Dr. Gabrielle Vail, known to friends as Gaby, is a Maya archaeologist, epigrapher (one who deciphers hieroglyphics), and educator whose research centers on Indigenous cultures of the Americas, with a special emphasis on Mesoamerican cultural traditions. Gaby received her PhD in Anthropology from Tulane University in 1996 and was a Visiting Professor at New College in Sarasota, Florida for several years before serving as Program Director for InHerit in 2016-2017. Gaby is best known for her scholarship on the Madrid Codex, one of the few extant Maya codices that survived the 16th century wars of Spanish conquest. Gaby built a website that features glyph-by-glyph decipherment of the codex in an easily accessible format. You can check it out at mayacodices.org.

Gaby also frequently leads workshop series on the Maya Codices for students of all ages in the U.S. and Latin America. In 2016-17, she led the Museums Connect project “Maya from the Margins” funded by the U.S. State Department, the American Alliance of Museums, and private donations through the Alliance for Heritage Conservation. This collaboration linked high school students of Maya descent from Morganton, NC with Yucatec students from the Universidad de Oriente (UNO) in Valladolid, Yucatán for a cultural heritage exchange trip that resulted in a student-curated traveling museum exhibit shown in both the U.S. and Mexico. This project brought together InHerit, the Wilson Library at UNC, UNO, and the Archivo General del Estado de Yucatán as institutional partners in this effort.

Dr.  Khristin Montes

Regis University, Denver

Dr. Khristin Landry-Montes joined the InHerit team in 2018 as Project Facilitator for the Cultural Heritage, Ecology, and Conservation of Yucatec Cenotes project.  During her 8-month stay, she and her cats, Chiste and Ares, became popular temporary residents of Colonia San Juan in Valladolid.  Khristin was instrumental in coordinating InHerit’s close collaborative relationship with secondary school teachers and several Maya communities in 2018. Along with Co-Director, Dr. Iván Batún-Alpuche, Khristin led activities on the ground, including organizing experiential education activities in the schools, advisory board meetings, and project assessments that incorporated photovoice exercises in five secondary schools. She also helped coordinate the undergraduate UNO Student Ambassadors and UNC Global Investigators who assisted us with educator workshops and with programs in schools and community cenotes. No stranger to the Maya world or education, Khristin specializes in Indigenous American art history and she recently received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois Chicago and is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at Cornell College. Her research specifically focuses on ancient Maya art and architecture and the materialization of social memory and identity in urban environments.

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