JON SPENARD (CSUSM; Project director and ceramicist)
Jon is Associate 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 site 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)


Andres Berdeja (CSUSM; Project Archaeologist and Surveyor; joined summer 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.

Franklin Quiros (CSUSM; Project Archaeologist; joined summer 2022)

Joe Gravino (CSUSM; Student volunteer; joined January 2023)
I’m Joe Gravino. I’m an anthropology/archeology major at Cal State San Marcos. What I’m excited about with this project is that I get to be a part of something much bigger then myself and experience hands on the true significance of what it is to be an archeologist.

Lorrie Gregory (CSUSM; Student volunteer; joined January 2023)
I am currently a third year student at CSUSM, in hopes to graduate in 2024 with a B.A. in Biological Anthropology. I’ve worked on a photogrammetry project for the San Diego Archaeological Center and have done geological surveying in the Mojave desert area. Although, I don’t have much experience in this field, I hope to gain more experience through my travels and future research studies to pursue a career in Biological Archaeology.

Adam Niesley (CSUSM; Student volunteer; joined January 2023)

Alisha Pico (CSUSM; Student volunteer; joined January 2023)
I am an archaeologist and Native American monitor specializing in San Diego County prehistory. I currently work for a CRM firm in San Diego. My archaeological experience includes archaeological surveys, laboratory artifact analysis, the cataloging of prehistoric and historical artifacts, and construction monitoring. I have participated in Palomar College’s Archaeology Certificate Program and earned my AA in Anthropology, and I will receive my B.A. in Anthropology from CSUSM.

Alysa Ransom (SDSU; Volunteer; joined January 2023)

Hi I’m Alysa! I graduated from SDSU with a B.A in Anthropology. I am currently a volunteer at the San Diego Archaeological Center and am taking a field excavation course through Palomar College. Over the past few months I’ve focused on expanding my knowledge and gaining valuable experience in the field, which is why I’m so excited to be a part of this project and further a career in archaeology.

Project alumni

Jessica Garcia (Project Archaeologist; 2019 field season)

Ariana Yanez (Project Archaeologist; 2019 field season)

Mikaela Weber (CSUSM; Project Archaeologist; 2022 field season)