MacArthur Fellows Program

David Stuart

Linguist and Epigrapher | Class of March 1984

Linguist and Epigrapher
Washington, District of Columbia
18 at time of award
Area of Focus
Linguistics, Archaeology
Published March 1, 1984

About David's Work

David Stuart studies ancient writing systems and their relationship to culture, with an emphasis on the Maya who flourished in what is now Central America between 250 A.D. and the Spanish Conquest.

In his research, Stuart blends anthropological linguistics, epigraphy, archaeology, ethnohistory, art history, and iconography.  His publications deal with specific translations of hieroglyphic signs, the cultural implications of particular texts, and entire programs of art and iconography.  He is the author of Ten Phonetic Syllables (1987), which outlines his methodology of decipherment, and co-author of the Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions (Vol. 9, Part 1, 2003), which features drawings and photographs of sculpture from Piedras Negras, Guatemala.  He has conducted field research at numerous archaeological sites in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, and remains actively engaged in several, large-scale excavation projects. 


Stuart was a lecturer in anthropology at Harvard University and served as assistant director of the Maya Corpus Program at Harvard’s Peabody Museum.  In 2004 he was appointed the Linda and David Schele Professor of Mesoamerican Art and Writing in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas, where he also serves as the director of the Precolumbian Center.

Stuart received a B.A. (1989) from Princeton University and a Ph.D. (1995) from Vanderbilt University.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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