Karl Andreas Taube
BornSeptember 14, 1957
Parent(s)Henry Taube

Karl Andreas Taube (born September 14, 1957) [1] is an American Mesoamericanist, archaeologist, epigrapher and ethnohistorian, known for his publications and research into the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica and the American Southwest. As of 2009 he holds a position as Professor of Anthropology at the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, University of California, Riverside.[2] In 2008 he was named the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences distinguished lecturer.

Taube commenced his undergraduate education at Stanford, relocating to Berkeley where he completed a B.A. in Anthropology in 1980. His graduate studies were undertaken in Anthropology at Yale, where he completed his Masters degree in 1983 and was awarded his Doctorate in 1988.[2] At Yale, Taube studied under several notable Mayanist researchers, including Michael D. Coe, Floyd Lounsbury and the art historian Mary Miller.[3] Taube later co-authored with Miller a well-received encyclopaedic work, The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya.[4]

Field research undertaken during the course of his career include a number of assignments on archaeological, linguistic and ethnological projects conducted in the Chiapas highlands, Yucatán Peninsula, central Mexico, Honduras and most recently, Guatemala. As of 2003, Taube has served as Project Iconographer for the Proyecto San Bartolo, co-directed by William Saturno and Monica Urquizu. His primary role is to interpret the murals of Pinturas Structure Sub-1, dating to the first century B.C. In 2004, Taube co-directed an archaeological project documenting previously unknown sources of "Olmec Blue" jadeite in eastern Guatemala. Taube has also investigated pre-Columbian sites in Ecuador and Peru.[2]

An early theme examined by Taube's papers and other publications concerned the agricultural development and symbolism of Mesoamerica, such as in his 1983 presentation to the Fifth Palenque Round Table on the Maya maize god.[5] Taube has also written on the symbolism and deity associations of maize for other cultures, such as the Olmec.

Another research theme explored by Taube is that of inter– and intra-regional exchanges and contacts for Mesoamerica, such as with those of Aridoamerica and the American Southwest. He has also researched the interactions between Teotihuacan, a dominant center in Mexico's plateau region during the Classic era of Mesoamerican chronology, and contemporary Maya polities.[2]

His father, Canadian-born Henry Taube (d. 2005), was the recipient of the 1983 Nobel Prize in chemistry.[6]


  1. ^ Date information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities linked authority file (LAF). Retrieved on 2008-05-08.
  2. ^ a b c d Board of Regents, UC (2006)
  3. ^ Coe (1992, p.244).
  4. ^ Miller and Taube (1993).
  5. ^ "The Classic Maya Maize God: A Reappraisal", published 1985 in Fifth Palenque Round Table, 1983 (Taube 1985).
  6. ^ Shwartz (2005); see also Coe (1992, p.244).


  • Board of Regents, UC (2006). "Taube, Karl A". UC Riverside, Faculty Directory. Regents UC. Archived from the original on 2007-07-31. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
  • Coe, Michael D. (1992). Breaking the Maya Code. London: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05061-9. OCLC 26605966.
  • Miller, Mary; Karl Taube (1993). The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya: An Illustrated Dictionary of Mesoamerican Religion. London: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05068-6. OCLC 27667317.
  • Shwartz, Mark (November 17, 2005). "Henry Taube, recipient of Nobel Prize in chemistry, dead at 89". Stanford Report. Stanford University. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
  • Taube, Karl (1985). "The Classic Maya Maize God: A Reappraisal" (PDF). In Virginia M. Fields (volume ed.) (ed.). Fifth Palenque Round Table, 1983. Merle Greene Robertson (general ed.) (Online publication:November 2003 ed.). Monterey, CA: Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute. Retrieved 2007-01-12.

Archaeological tours

Taube leads educational journeys for Far Horizons Archaeological and Cultural trips