Markens will discuss the Zapotecs, a pre-Columbian civilization that was established over 2,500 years ago in the ancient city of Monte Alban in the Valley of Oaxaca. The mountaintop city of Monte Alban was one the Mexico's earliest urban centers, flourishing from 500 BC until 800 AD and was home to some 30,000 Zapotec-speaking inhabitants. It is where the first samples of written culture were discovered.
Markens is also a research associate in archaeology at the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia in Oaxaca City. He has a bachelor's in anthropology from the University of Toronto, masters degrees in anthropology from Columbia University and Brandeis University and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Brandeis University.