Mesoamerica: Eastern (Geographic Keyword)

1-25 (29 Records)

3D Scanning the Virgin Mary in the Toast: Using Handheld Digital Imaging Technologies to Explode the Myth of Pareidolic Illusions in the Ancient Maya Underworld (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Cameron S. Griffith.

Cave archaeologists around the world are increasingly utilizing many new platforms and techniques to document subterranean artwork, including digital imaging and scanning technologies. In this presentation I demonstrate a portable and cost-effective approach to digital imaging of parietal art. To this end, I used an Occipital Structure Sensor 3D scanner, mounted on an iPhone 6, to document various monumental modified speleothem sculptures in the subterranean realm of the ancient Maya of Belize,...


The Archaeology of the Southern Belize Region in Context (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Mario Borrero.

The region of Southern Belize is part of the Maya lowlands, an area that is geographically circumscribed, and located in-between several larger regional centers such as Tikal to the west, Caracol to the north, and the sites of Copán and Quiriguá to the southeast. The general history of archaeological investigations for this area are presented, along with site-specific studies from the Southern Belize Region. The current archaeological data of four major ancient polities of this region are...


Assessing Classic Maya Intermediate Elite Political Strategies through Multivariate Statistical Manipulation of Settlement Pattern Data (2019)
DOCUMENT Citation Only John Walden. Claire Ebert. Julie Hoggarth. Shane Montgomery. Jaime Awe.

This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. Intermediate elites played pivotal roles in the politics of ancient complex societies across the world. In the Classic period (AD 250-900/1000) Maya lowlands, intermediate elites acted as intercessors between apical rulers and commoners. These intermediate elites and the political strategies they employed, however, have rarely taken center stage in...


Between Government and Grassroots: Archaeologists and Social Justice in International Contexts (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Claire Novotny.

Working at the community level is a crucial component of an engaged, socially just discipline. Advancing archaeology towards greater inclusivity is an increasingly common conversation within the discipline. The majority of literature on this topic focuses on grassroots efforts to include marginalized descendant communities or other stakeholders in research design, implementation, knowledge dissemination and curation. An ever present and often unanalyzed aspect of research (especially abroad),...


The Bonds that Bind Us: The Analysis of Terminus Groups in the Belize River Valley (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Steve Fox. Jaime Awe.

Previous archaeological investigations of terminus groups in the Maya Lowlands concluded that these architectural complexes served either cosmological, ritual, or economic purposes. In an effort to test these models, we investigated causeway terminus groups at Cahal Pech and Baking Pot. Subsequent comparisons of the Cahal Pech and Baking Pot data with that from other sites in the Belize Valley, Caracol and Tikal, strongly suggest that while there was some regional diversity in the significance...


Caves, Copper, and Pilgrimage: Reinterpretation of Quimistan Bell Cave in Northwestern Honduras (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Jocelyn Acosta.

In 1910, A. Hooton Blackiston discovered a cave 25 miles from Naco containing a cache of 800 copper bells, a possible mosaic mask of turquoise, and other materials. Blackiston interpreted the cave as a place of worship dedicated to the bat god. Copper, however, has very rarely been reported from caves in Honduras. Metals enter Mesoamerican late in its history but quickly assume an importance equal to jade in the native value system. The only other cave known to have held copper bells is...


Cavetuns: Unexplored Theoretical Implications of a Discovery at Mul Ch’en Witz, La Milpa, Belize (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Wendy Layco. Jessica Strayer. Samantha Lorenz. Toni Gonzalez.

In June of 2017, the Contested Caves Archaeological Project (CCAP), explored what was thought to be a partially capped chultun at the site of La Milpa, Belize. On entering, however, it became clear that the feature was actually a small, natural cave with a classic chultun-style entrance carved into it. Two of the cave’s three chambers contained small pools of water, which receded into the porous limestone, within days of their discovery. The pools make any possibility of storage infeasible...


A Comparison of Lithic Caches from Ucanal and Xunantunich: Is It Possible to Identify Eccentric Traditions as Communities of Practice at the Regional Level? (2019)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Zachary Hruby. Jaime Awe. Christina Halperin. Catharina Santasilia.

This is an abstract from the "Ceremonial Lithics of Mesoamerica: New Understandings of Technology, Distribution, and Symbolism of Eccentrics and Ritual Caches in the Maya World and Beyond" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. Two recently discovered ritual deposits from the eastern Maya Lowlands seem to reveal similarities in the kinds of eccentrics used in Late Classic Maya caches from different political centers. Upon closer examination, however, they...


Costumbres funerarias en la época del contacto en la Huasteca Potosina (2019)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Estela Martínez. Guillermo Martinez Mora. Patricia Olga Hernandez. Adrián Velazquez.

This is an abstract from the "Approaches to Cultural and Biological Complexity in Mexico at the Time of Spanish Conquest" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. El contexto funerario de una mujer adulta nos muestra que, dentro de las conductas funerarias presentes entre las élites de Tamtoc, era tradicional ataviar al individuo con lujosos bienes procedentes de muy diversas regiones. Las costumbres funerarias y el estudio sobre el origen de los objetos de...


Early Human Biology, Ecology, and Archaeology in the Lowland Tropics of Central America (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Keith M. Prufer. Mark Robinson. Douglas J. Kennett.

Renewed focus on Paleoamerican and archaic peoples across Mesoamerica have broadened our understanding of those time periods.  However, few stratified sites have been documented.  We present new data from two multi-component rockshelters located in the Bladen Nature Reserve in the Maya Mountains of Belize.  We document persistent use of these rockshelters from the late Pleistocene through the Maya collapse and suggest these spaces were used for animal processing, tool reduction, and as...


Embodying the Sun. Pyrotechniques as Part of Human Sacrifice in Ancient Mesoamerica (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Vera Tiesler.

In Mesoamerica, sacrificial ceremonies for the sake of religious merit-making tended to bridge polarities between action and symbols. Some of the ritual practices were mediated by mythical narratives surrounding domestic hearths, divine fire, and the sun itself. Among ancient Mesoamericans with their hierophagic cosmic understanding, the fiery protagonists to which sacrifices were destined to were deemed necessary complements of all life and had to be fed. This talk combines graphic and textual...


Entangled: The Shifting Networks that Linked the Classic Maya of Belize’s Mopan Valley to Adjacent Regions (2019)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Jason Yaeger. M. Kathryn Brown.

This is an abstract from the "Making and Breaking Boundaries in the Maya Lowlands: Alliance and Conflict across the Guatemala–Belize Border" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. Some Mayanists have eschewed the notion that Classic Maya polities were territorially based, arguing instead that they were constituted through networks of political alliances that were continually reinforced through gifting, diplomacy, and warfare. That idea is our springboard...


The Esperanza to Middle Marcala Phase Subsistence Practices at El Gigante Rockshelter (11,000–7400 cal B.P.) (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Kenneth Hirth. Alejandro Figueroa. Alejandra Domic. Heather Thakar. Harry Iceland.

The earliest human occupation of the El Gigante Rockshelter in the highlands of western Honduras dates to the Early Esperanza phase at 11,010 cal B.P. This paper examines the perishable and imperishable remains from the Early Esperanza through Middle Marcala phase occupation from 11,010-7,430 cal B.P. and what they inform about human adaptation and forager subsistence practices in the highlands during this early period of Honduran prehistory.


A Good Footing: The Importance of Plaza Design in the Northern Maya Lowlands (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Maline Werness-Rude. Kaylee Spencer.

Ancient Maya architecture tends to follow predictable patterns. Many structures have a single, clear façade, for instance, conceptualized as a literal face. Northern sites, with their toothy-jawed monster buildings, express this idea with particular directness. Stairways and sculptural adjuncts, like altars and stelae, are integral elements that contribute to the idea of facing, both literally and metaphorically, and, as such, are critical to the visual identity of many Maya sites. With a few...


Investigating the Spatial Analysis of Chultuneob at Mul Ch’en Witz, Belize (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Brian Waldo. Samantha Lorenz. Toni Gonzales.

Mul Ch’en Witz (Hill with Many Caves) was first excavated in the summer of 2017 by the Contested Caves Archaeological Project (CCAP), a subproject of the Three Rivers Archaeological Project (TRAP). The area, located just below the escarpment on which the core architecture of the ancient site of La Milpa, Belize is situated, was chosen for excavation because of the high density of chultunes encountered within a restricted area. The chultunes have similar entrance styles and diameters, and five of...


Joseph Ball and the Reformulation of the Protoclassic: Revisiting Critical Issues (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only James Brady.

At the 1985 Maya Ceramic Workshop, Arthur Demarest noted the intense interest in the Protoclassic. Indeed, ceramists with only a mammiform support and a handful of sherds would pause to speculate on the significance of a statistically insignificant number of sherds. During the 1990s, Joseph Ball and I doggedly worked to reexamine every aspect of the Protoclassic issue. Aided by contributions of a number of colleagues, the resulting document attempted to strip the Protoclassic of association...


Photogrammetric Registration of Excavation and Sacbe Segments at Yaxuna (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Danielle Mercure. Dominique Meyer. Eric Lo. Tanya Anaya. Traci Ardren.

Using aerial imagery in archaeological sites has been viewed as a powerful tool for site recordation. At the Maya site of Yaxuna, located 20km south of the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza and on the longest recorded Maya sacbe, we provide a case study of aerial survey work, combining altitude varying imagery from fixed wing and multirotor aircrafts. Combining such multi-scale imagery allows us to relate excavation scale to landscape wide architecture and layout. Features such as terrain,...


Photogrammetric Techniques for Digital Documentation of Subterranean Maya Architecture (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Eric Lo. Dominique Rissolo. Michael Hess. Dominique Meyer. Falko Kuester.

Photogrammetric techniques are increasingly being used for documenting cultural heritage sites for digital preservation and analysis, but the challenges of working in constrained spaces with difficult lighting conditions have encumbered widespread adoption in subterranean environments. The Proyecto Arquitectura Subterranea de Quintana Roo, coordinated by the Cultural Heritage Engineering Initiative (CHEI), at the University of California San Diego, in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional...


The Planned Conversion of a Sascabera into a Man-made Cave: Evidence from Chichen Itza (2019)
DOCUMENT Citation Only James Brady. Brenna Perteet.

This is an abstract from the "Studies in Mesoamerican Subterranean Archaeology" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. During the construction of a plaza group on a 5 m high raised platform, a sascabera was excavated into the hill that formed the nucleus of the group. The original circular opening in the cap rock was carefully maintained. When the platform was completed, the northern end of the sascabera was filled with rubble and smoothed to form the...


The Pottery of a Problematic Deposit from Cahal Pech, Belize, and Its Implications for the Interpretation of Similar Deposits (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Jim Aimers. Jaime Awe.

During the Belize Tourism Development Project (2000-2004), Awe excavated dense on-floor deposits on the stairs and stairside outsets of Structures A2 and A3 at Cahal Pech. These deposits were mainly pottery sherds but included a variety of other materials including whole and partial vessels, projectile points, obsidian blades, deer antlers, figurines and ocarinas, spindle whorls, and jade pendants. A standard interpretations of such deposits is that they represent garbage left behind by Terminal...


Reassessing Classic Maya Identity and the Southern Edge of Mesoamerica (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Jeb Card.

Certain classes of material culture found in Honduras and El Salvador have long been recognized as being related to "Maya style" artwork and artifacts from Copan and Classic Maya cities to the north and west. These objects have been framed through questions of "influence", ethnicity, and boundaries. The recent re-analysis of a ceramic flask from Tazumal, with an unusual inscription tying the object to a Copan king and imagery of tribute, suggests a more distinct political lens through which to...


The Sacred Landscape of Xunantunich, Belize (2019)
DOCUMENT Citation Only M. Kathryn Brown. Jason Yaeger.

This is an abstract from the "Manifesting Movement Materially: Broadening the Mesoamerican View" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. Early Maya communities centered themselves within a broader sacred landscape imbued with meaning through ritual practices. Centuries of movement through the landscape converted spaces into places that were deeply rooted in cosmology and social memory. Ritual practices at the center of the community and important places in...


Selective Surplus: Material Networks in Formation at Yaxuná, Yucatan, Mexico (900 to 350 BCE) (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Ryan Collins.

Recent investigations of Yaxuná, Yucatan, Mexico have provided evidence to suggest that the earliest permanent spaces, by way of the site’s E-group complex, in the Northern Lowlands were roughly contemporaneous with the early developments observed at Central Lowland sites. On the one hand, this data provides an outlet to better explore the large scale social processes impacting the early macro-region of the Maya area. However, material analysis of recovered shell, lithic, and ceramic artifacts...


Shifting Colonial Narratives at the Edge of the Spanish Colony: 15th-17th Century Maya Archaeology at Progresso Lagoon, Belize (2019)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Maxine Oland.

This is an abstract from the "After Cortés: Archaeological Legacies of the European Invasion in Mesoamerica" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. There is no question that colonialism in the Americas brought huge and unanticipated changes for both European and Indigenous peoples. Yet Indigenous people often contextualized colonial efforts within their own worldview, or ontology, even as they interacted with European people, things, and colonial...


The Space of Liminality: Between Ritual and Theater in Late Classic Ancient Maya Cave Rites (2018)
DOCUMENT Citation Only Holley Moyes. Kelsey Hanson. Erin Ray.

Performance theory recognizes that the boundaries between ritual and theatrical performances are often quite blurred, allowing shared methods of analysis between the two. While many have argued for a theater-state among the ancient Maya, few have ventured beyond the large ceremonies conducted in great plazas to consider the more esoteric nature of public, semi-public, and private rites taking place in the natural landscape. Ancient Maya caves were used exclusively as ritual spaces, yet there has...