Dr. Healy exploring Belize Maya site and explains his passion
Ancient Maya people where known by the one's that predicted the calendar, made pottery's, exchange products and much more. One of the significant discoveries that Dr. Paul Healy has uncovered, there is one that stands out in his mind.
In the late 1980s the archaeologist and his team found a Maya site in Belize an eight-foot limestone monument. Which is Carved into its surface with an image of a Mayan king, seated with a huge headdress adorning his head.
The monument was dated back to 450 AD and Around it was carved in text the story of the king.
This structure piece is one of many that Trent University professor had search while working in the field during his fourty year career. He is typically the rank expert on the Maya culture and recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award from his peers at the Maya the Lago Conference in North Carolina back in April.
He received the distinguished award which he joins the ranks of two Maya Archeologists, one is a Yale professor and the other is an Archeologist which is working for National Geographic.
The ceremony was joined by Dr. Healy by several colleague and former students who have learnt under his instructions at Trent.
The award was a nice way to end a career in which Dr. Healy leaves shortly. He is officially retired since July of last year, but he stayed on at Trent for another year to teach a course. "It's nice to be honoured by your colleagues. It was very fun to see everyone. There were students there from the 1970s to present. But it really gave me a chance to thank my wife for her support and the great colleagues I've worked with." He said.
It is not possible to ignore the comperance between Dr. Healy and Hollywood's famous archeologist played by Harrison Ford. Few even call him Peterborough's Indiana Jones. He chuckles at the thought and smiles, admitting he kind of gets a kick out of the comparison.
"The funny thing is when those movies came out we would get double or triple the enrollment into archaeology courses," quips.
Dr. Healypassion for archaeology beganAt an early age.He was Born near Boston, Massachusetts,his father who was a civil engineer and his mother who worked at home, Dr. Healy remembered a Grade 5 trip to a museum which harden his interest in all things old. As his classmates wandered through the museum, Dr. Healy was amazed on the Egyptian exhibits.
"I just kept looking at the artifacts. It was fascinating and I remember thinking that I couldn't believe how old the artifacts were," says Dr. Healy.
Clearly he wanted to follow archaeology as a profession from a young age allowed Dr. Healy to chose the courses he needed in school to accomplish his goal.
It was until he was a senior at the University of California, Berkeley that Dr. Healy chose which area of archaeology he wanted to focus on. He was the only undergrad to join graduate students and a professor on a field assignment in Mexico. It was there his fascination inspired him with the Maya cultural was born. This obsession of sorts that has led Dr. Healy on many archaeological search in Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico. Also he has worked in Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and the United States.
Dr. Healy had work to five published books authored by about the Maya culture and wrote more than 50 articles or book chapters on American archaeology.
One of His first published paper focused on a search in Honduras as a Harvard graduate student in 1974. He was exploring a cave and discovered ceramic materials dating back to 1,000 BC.
Dr. Healy came to Trent not shortly after the university had opened. He spotted the job posting and applied. He was fascinated by the department that consisted of young archaeologists like himself. He fit the form because at the time university officials were looking for a professor with experience in Central America.
Dr. Healyand his wife Doreen moved to Peterborough and had two kids. He says he plans on sticking around after his wife retires from YWCA this summer.
"I've enjoyed teaching, but it's time to move on to do other things," says Dr. Healy. That's sad news for current archaeology students who are learning from one of the greatest Maya experts. Fourth-year student Brittany Cleminson said, Dr. Healy is a phenomenal teacher whose passion about archaeology comes across in spades when he's in front of a class.
"He effectively conveys his interest in the subject and it's great because you know he is the expert."says Ms Cleminson.
For Dr. Healy, teaching it was a way to bring his field experience back to the desire minds that were craving the knowledge he possessed. It allowed him to trust and share his enthusiasm about archaeology.
And that absurbing is more than evident when you talk with Dr. Healy. There's an excitement in his voice when he speaks about artifacts and discoveries he has made.
"It makes you feel excited when you find something and then try to determine what you found and how it fits into the bigger puzzle," says Dr. Healy.