Walter Witschey

Professor of Anthropology and Science Education

Witschey is an archaeologist whose specialty is ancient Maya culture, in particular Maya settlement patterns. He “got hooked” on this subject in 1952, has traveled more than 20 times to the Maya area and since 1996 has maintained an electronic atlas of known Maya archaeological sites, currently about 6,200 sites. While working on his Ph.D., he directed a program of archaeological research at Muyil, an ancient settlement on the Yucatan Peninsula, with the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History. He is the co-author (with his partner on the electronic atlas project, Clifford Brown of Florida Atlantic University) of the Historical Dictionary of Ancient Mesoamerica.

Witschey wrote a monthly science column for the Richmond Times-Dispatch for a dozen years. He has published articles on fields as diverse as computer mapping of Colonial Virginia land patents and linguistic analysis of 16th century Spanish Colonial documents in Mexico. He was director of the Science Museum of Virginia from 1992-2007 and is a past president of the International Association of Science-Technology Centers and of the Virginia Academy of Science.

He is a graduate of Princeton University, the University of Virginia and Tulane University.

Publications / Media References

Witschey was interviewed by, and quoted in, dozens of newspapers and other news outlets around the world in December 2013 related to the widespread but erroneous belief that the ancient Maya calendar had predicted the world would end that month. His archaeological work was the subject of a feature story in the Richmond, Va., magazine Style Weekly in 2007.

Areas of Expertise