Ronald L. Bishop, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History
Ronald L. Bishop is Curator of Mexican and Central American Archaeology at the Smithsonian Institution. He studied chemistry at San Jose State University as an undergraduate, but obtained a BA degree in anthropology in 1965 from San Francisco State University. He received his PhD degree in anthropology in 1975 from Southern Illinois University. His earlier interest in physical and natural science lead to an invitation to conduct neutron activation analysis of archaeological materials at Brookhaven National Laboratory, which was followed by coursework in clay mineralogy, sedimentary petrology, geochemistry and geostatistics.
He has analyzed chert, jade, obsidian and turquoise, and especially ceramics from Mesoamerica, Lower Central America, the U.S. Southwest, and recently, Hispanic and Mexican Colonial pottery in California, Texas and Mexico. He is the author or coauthor of three books and more than 160 articles on subjects of ceramic manufacture and distribution, and on social changes that accompanied the collapse of Classic Maya lowland society at the close of the eighth century. Bishop’s career has been based in research institutions and museums, working nationally and in Latin America. In 1997 he received the award for Excellence in Ceramic Analysis from the Society for American Archaeology for his interdisciplinary research in archaeology.