Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project
Dr. Christophe Helmke
Christophe Helmke graduated with a BA in Anthropology (concentration Archaeology) 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 archaeological 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 Mesoamerica 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 at 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 Nagaoka (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 and surveyor (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. In 2005, Christophe assumed the position of co-director of BVAR and led the continued investigations of Pook's Hill, and in 2007 the research shifted to the major centre of Baking Pot.
Between 2009 and 2014 he served as director of the Scribal Practices and Dialects in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica project. Since then, he serves as epigrapher on a series of archaeological projects working at a variety of sites (including Altun Ha, Baking Pot, Buenavista del Cayo, Caracol, Cuychen, Kakabix, Lamanai, Nakum, Pacbitun, Tipan Chen Uitz, and Xunantunich).
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. These workshops have been held 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.