Tyler Junior College Professor Dr. Keith Eppich is co-editor of “Breath and Smoke: Tobacco Among the Maya,” which details the use of tobacco among the living and ancient Native Americans of Central America.
Eppich collaborated on the project with friend and colleague Jennifer Loughmiller-Cardinal, and it includes contributions from archaeologists, historians, ethnographers, biologists and chemists. “Breath and Smoke” will be available in November.
“During the Classic period, AD 200-1000, the Maya nobility traded and gifted elaborately decorated flasks, many of which ended up in the funerary collections of their tombs, where modern researchers have recovered them,” Eppich said.
“My own research involved a long-term project in Guatemala, the Proyecto Arqueologico Waka’ (PAW), an ongoing 16-year archaeological investigation in the ruins of the ancient city of El Peru-Waka’, located in the rainforest of northwestern Guatemala,” he added.
Eppich joined his first archaeological project at age 8, at Bedico Creek, Louisiana. Since then, he has excavated Tchefuncte shell mounds, Pleistocene bone beds, antebellum plantations, California missions, Chumash campsites, and ancient Maya cities. With his co-directors, he heads the Proyecto Arqueológico Waka’, a large-scale and long-term archaeological project in northwestern Guatemala, at the ruined city of El Perú-Waka’. There he excavated one of the seven great tombs from the site and is involved in a major presentation of these materials in North Texas.
Eppich, a professor of anthropology and archeology at TJC, specializes in the study of the Classic Maya ceramic arts, Native American urbanism, and the Mesoamerican economy, and has published on all three. He holds multiple degrees from Louisiana State University and San Diego State University, and a doctorate from Southern Methodist University. He joined TJC in 2018.