JON SPENARD (CSUSM; Project director and ceramicist). Jon is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at California State University San Marcos. He has been a member of numerous archaeological projects in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico on which he studied ancient Maya ritual landmark use. Prior to starting the RiFRAP in 2018, Jon most recently studied the ritual caves and landmarks of the nearby Maya center of Pacbitun, a center with close ties to the Mountain Pine Ridge.

Mike Mirro (RiFRAP; Project Field Director, GIS Specialist, and Digital Archaeology; project co-founder): Mike has worked on numerous cave archaeology projects  in Belize since 1996. He completed his Master’s research at Barton Creek Cave, one of the primary outlets draining the Mountain Pine Ridge. He currently works for the CRM firm, PaleoWest Archaeology in Southern California. For the RiFRAP, Mike is the project Jack-of-all trades, from digital modeling, and GIS, to expert climbing and mapping.

Javier “Javi,” “Chiich” Mai (RiFRAP; San Antonio, Cayo; Project Foreman since 2018)


Andres Berdeja (CSUSM; Project Archaeologist and Surveyor; joined 2019)

I first attended Palomar College where I received an A.A. in Archaeology, an A.A. in Anthropology, an A.S. in GIS, and two certificates of proficiency as an Archaeological Excavator and an Archaeological Surveyor/Laboratory Assistant in 2016. I received my B.A. in Indigenous Anthropology from CSUSM in May of 2019. I currently work for a CRM company located in San Diego, CA. I’ve worked on projects in the past located in the Bassar region of Togo, West Africa. I have also worked extensively at the Rancho de los Peñasquitos in San Diego where I used GIS tools to create real time spatial analyses of artifacts found between 2010 and 2016. My current fascination in Archaeology has been with ceramics.

Mikaela Weber (CSUSM; Project Archaeologist; joined 2022)

I took my first anthropology class fall 2018 and immediately fell in love with the field. After obtaining my AA in Anthropology in 2019, I attended my first field school in Menorca, Spain where I worked with a team of archaeologists excavating the Roman city of Sanisera. Since then I have received a BA in Indeginous Anthropology from CSUSM. I am passionate about learning what I can about past civilizations and hope to share what I learn with the world.

Project alumni

Jessica Garcia (Project Archaeologist; 2019 field season)

Ariana Yanez (Project Archaeologist; 2019 field season)