John Pohl

About Dr. Pohl

Dr. Pohl teaches Physical Anthropology, Materials Studies, Civilizations of Western Mesoamerica, and Museum Studies among other classes. His fascination with the ancient past extends back to his participation in the discovery and excavation of Arago 21, still regarded as the oldest complete Homo heidelbergensis cranium found in western Europe.  He is an authority on American Indian civilizations and has conducted numerous archaeological excavations and surveys in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central America. His area of specialization is the ancient art and writing of the Nahua, Mixtec, Zapotec, and Aztec civilizations of highland Mexico. He has held numerous fellowships with institutions ranging from the National Gallery of Art to Dumbarton Oaks and has received several major grants including most recently National Endowment for the Humanities funding for a two year project to translate an ancient Mexican pictographic heroic epic into a poetic recitation for use in comparative world literature studies. Dr. Pohl is noted for bringing the ancient past to life using a wide variety of innovative skills and techniques. His unusual background in archaeology, art history, and film media production have taken him from museum exhibition development with the Walt Disney Company’s Department of Cultural Affairs to the Princeton University Art Museum where he served as the first Peter Jay Sharp Curator and Lecturer in the Art of the Ancient Americas. He has published numerous books and articles including Exploring Mesoamerica and The Legend of Lord Eight Deer, both with Oxford University Press.  Dr. Pohl has conceived a number of major exhibitions on North and Central American Indian peoples including the “Museum of the Cherokee Indian” in Cherokee, North Carolina, “Sorcerers of the Fifth Heaven: Art and Ritual in Ancient Southern Mexico” at Princeton and “La Tinta Grita: The Art of Social Resistance of Oaxaca, Mexico” for UCLA’s Fowler Museum.  Most recently, Dr. Pohl served as a curator for “The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire” for the Getty Villa Museum in 2010,  followed by “The Children of Plumed Serpent, the Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico,” in 2012 for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  In 2015, he 

produced “Eternal Realms of Revelry, the MAW Collection of Pre-Columbian Art” for CSULA and is currently developing plans for an institute for the study of the ancient civilizations of the Americas for the university.

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John M.D. Pohl

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