Arlen F. Chase

Professor of Anthropology
Expertise: Anthropology, Archaeology, Maya civilizations, Mesoamerica, Ceramic analysis, Epigraphy (ancient inscriptions)


Arlen F. Chase is an anthropologically trained archaeologist with a specialty in the Maya area of Mesoamerica. For more than three decades, he has co-directed excavations at Caracol, Belize — the largest known archaeological site in the Maya lowlands of Central America. He has also conducted fieldwork in Guatemala, Mexico, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. 

Before joining UNLV in 2016, Chase was an associate dean in the College of Sciences of Anthropology at the University of Central Florida. In 2007, he received the Pegasus Professor Award, which is UCF's highest faculty honor, for his continued excellence in research, teaching, and service. 

He has written more than 150 articles and book chapters as well as seven books. An eighth book co-authored with Diane Z. Chase entitled "Maya Archaeology: Reconstructing an Ancient Civilization" is almost completed. Chase has been called upon by media outlets including The New York Times, Forbes, National Geographic, and BBC News to provide his expertise.


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania
  • B.A., Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania

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Arlen F. Chase In The News

Las Vegas Review Journal
April 8, 2019
The ancient Central American city of Caracol was abandoned by the Maya almost a thousand years ago, but Arlen and Diane Chase can’t seem to stay away from the place.
Discover Magazine
February 8, 2019
Thomas Garrison pauses in the middle of the jungle. “That’s the causeway right there,” he says, pointing into a random patch of greenery in the Guatemalan lowlands.
National Geographic
October 8, 2018
Dozens of swallowtail butterflies are dancing in the air, and we pull the car over to watch. We’ve been on the road in Belize for nearly three hours with no shortage of sightseeing along the way. The drive from San Ignacio winds through San Antonio, a Maya town that is also the home of my tour guide, Israel Canto. We drive through the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, and the deserted sustainable logging town next door. We take a pit stop to stretch our legs in a massive tunnel system–the Rio Frío Cave. Alas, we are on the final stretch, a few miles of dirt road leading to the largest Maya site in Belize–larger than its famous neighbor, Tikal in Guatemala. We are arriving at Caracol.
August 6, 2018
Why you should care: Because climate change has been affecting civilizations for a long time.

Articles Featuring Arlen F. Chase

A photo of UNLV archaeologists Diane and Arlen Chase examining items on the floor of a tomb in Caracol, Belize.
ResearchJanuary 31, 2019
UNLV’s Diane and Arlen Chase engage in fieldwork and new technologies to uncover Maya history at Caracol, Belize.