Home Page


Christophe G.B. Helmke

Christophe Helmke graduated with a BA in Anthropology from McGill University, Canada after completing an Honours Thesis on Classic period (AD 250 - 900) Lowland Maya stelae. He received his MA in Archaeology with distinction from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, England in 2001. His MA Thesis focused on identifying the social processes responsible for the dissemination of Terminal Classic (c. AD 830 - 950) Moulded-carved vases throughout the eastern Central Lowlands. He obtained his PhD in Archaeology in 2009 from the University of London (Institute of Archaeology, University College London). His PhD thesis focused on ancient Maya cave utilisation as attested in the glyphic corpus of the Maya area and the ceramic remains found within the caves of the Roaring Creek Valley of Belize.

He has been actively involved in archaeological fieldwork since 1993. Before working in the Maya area he participated in archaeological investigations in France and Japan. In particular he assisted in the excavations of the Aedui capital Bibracte (France; 1993 - 1994), the Mars-Mullo Sanctuary of Allonnes (France; 1994 - 1995) both dating to the Gallo-Roman period (c. 200 - 52 BC), and the Heijō-Heian period (AD 784 - 794) capital of Nagaōka (Japan; 1995). After completing the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance (BVAR) field school in 1996 he joined the Western Belize Regional Cave Project (WBRCP) in 1997 as archaeological illustrator, surveyor and epigrapher (1997 - 2000). Between 1999 and 2003 he served as field director of the excavations at the Pook's Hill plazuela group, in the Roaring Creek Valley of Belize. Between 2005 and 2007, Christophe assumed the position of co-director of BVAR and led the continued investigations of Pook's Hill and Baking Pot. Between 2009 and 2014, he has served as Director to the Scribal Practices and Dialects in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, an epigraphic documentation project operating in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. The project has focused on several writing systems, including that of the Classic Maya, the Epiclassic sites of Cacaxtla and Xochicalco, and Early Classic Teotihuacan.

He has organised and tutored introductory workshops to Mesoamerican writing systems since 2000, in collaboration with Harri Kettunen (University of Helsinki), Jesper Nielsen (University of Copenhagen) and several close colleagues, in Belize, England, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the USA, France, Poland, Mexico, Italy & Finland. Between 2006 and 2008 he assumed the post of Lecturer and between 2009 and 2013 that of Assistant Professor of American Indian Languages and Cultures at the Institute for Cross-cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen. As of 2013 holds the post of Associate Professor of American Indian Languages and Cultures.

Publications: click here

Research interests include:

Household and settlement pattern archaeology
Monumental architecture, consolidation and architectural curation
Cave archaeology in the central Maya Lowlands
Epigraphic analyses of glyphic texts from cave sites
The analysis of glyphic texts from the eastern Central Lowlands
The glyphic Primary Standard Sequence
        Terminal Classic Moulded-carved vases
        Elaboration of standard conventions for archaeological illustrations and maps