The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced today that Patricia Crown, the Leslie Spier Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Emerita at The University of New Mexico, has been elected as a 2022 AAAS Fellow. Election as a Fellow honors members whose efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications in service to society have distinguished them among their peers and colleagues.

Patricia L. Crown
Patricia L. Crown

The AAAS honorees have gone above and beyond in their respective disciplines. They bring a broad diversity of perspectives, innovation, curiosity, and passion that will help sustain the scientific field today and into the future. Many of these individuals have broken barriers to achieving success in their given disciplines. 

“I'm deeply honored to have been elected as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow for 2022,” Crown said. “The mission of the AAAS is ‘to advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people.’ It is gratifying that my colleagues in the AAAS have deemed my research within the scope of this mission. And it is particularly gratifying because I not only taught at UNM for 29 years, but my research largely concerned the past in New Mexico, so this election emphasizes the significance of New Mexico as a hub of innovation now and in the past. In addition, my scholarship benefited from the exceptional UNM undergraduate and graduate students I have worked with over the past three decades.” 

Crown, who recently retired from UNM, is partly known for her work at Chaco Canyon where she and her team re-excavated a room first excavated in 1896 where 174 whole ceramic pots were found. The re-excavation provided firm dates for the room as well as the sequence of events leading to its burning around AD 1100. In 2009, Crown and her collaborator, nutritional chemist Jeffrey Hurst, found residues in the cylinder jars of drinks made from cacao, the beans of the tropical Theobroma tree used to make chocolate. Their research revealed the first evidence of chocolate north of the US-Mexico border and possibly linked Chacoan rituals surrounding cacao use to Mesoamerica. She is the author of more than 60 articles and books, including The House of the Cylinder Jars: Room 28 at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, published by UNM Press in 2020.

Crown’s professional recognition and honors also include election to the National Academy of Sciences, the A.V. Kidder Award from American Anthropological Association, and the Society of American Archaeology Award for Excellence in Ceramic Research.

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