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The dimensions of Rituality 2000 years ago and today

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

Archaeological record has registered ceramic vessels containing remains of contents of food and beverage and other materials used in ceremonial and offering rites, instruments for its preparation, body preparation and paint as cinnabar, hematite, plaster and bitumen. Censers and braziers, designed for burning or heating different kinds of incense and copal, musical instruments, as ocarinas, whistles, and ceramic drums, fabrics, robes, headdresses, jewels fetishes and figurines, even bones. All these are vestiges of materials which are directly related to strongly appeal to sensitive perceptions, as sight, smell, taste, sound and touch experiences, thus suggesting that those ritual events were a feast for all senses which represent plenitude and sensuality, rhythm, dance and theater, an ode to live. This is particularly conspicuous when evident in funerary contexts, which translates funerary ritual in a feast of live, imbuing death with the power of giving birth to live, as a live bringer.This symposium pursues to present papers which can address and discuss some of these vestiges which provide the evidence of the dimensions of this ancestral rituality and its current manifestations.

Other Keywords
RitualTak'alik Ab'ajfigurinesMayaAbandonmentLanguageGuatemalaMonumentsBurialBallgame

Geographic Keywords
MesoamericaCentral America

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-14 of 14)

  • Documents (14)


  • Current ritual materiality at Tak’alik Ab’aj (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 395105] Miguel Orrego Corzo. Heber Delfino Torres Estrada.

    Tak’alik Ab’aj since its heyday in Preclassic and during its long history until Late Classic, was an important trade and cultural center of the southwestern Maya Periphery. After abandonment of 1700 years of long-lived and uninterrupted history in 900 AD, this ancient city apparently maintained its significance as ancestral sacred place and rituals were performed as inconspicuous as possible, in view that the site has passed into private properties. Since de beginnings of the creation of the...

  • Dance and Music in Maya Rituals: The Case of Tecum (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 395110] Matthias Stöckli.

    According to the 16th-century Título K’oyoi, the K’iche’ captain Tecum participated in two elaborate ceremonies before leading his army into war against the Spanish conquerors. Both included dance and music and even though he later was killed in battle, Tecum somehow continued to dance until the present day, now taking part in the preparation and performance of the so-called Dance of the Conquest. This "fact" alone tells important things about the concepts and functions of dance and music in...

  • "Just the leftovers!" Pre-Christian ritual in highland Maya colonial documents (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 395108] Sergio Romero.

    In this paper I will present an analysis of colonial texts in indigenous languages that describe or paraphrase pre-Hispanic ritual. I will present comparisons between the structure and poetics of such texts and those of contemporary Christian sacramental practice as attested in sixteenth and seventeenth century doctrines and catechisms. Based on the analysis of intertextuality, I will show that pre-Hispanic ritual genres became a template for the Spanish mendicant friars and their native...

  • La tradición de los incensarios en el centro de Chiapas (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 395115] Lynneth Lowe.

    La utilización de incensarios cerámicos con el fin de quemar ofrendas durante las ceremonias, que podrían ser resinas aromáticas, papel, semillas, flores u otros elementos, constituyó una tradición milenaria en el centro de Chiapas, como lo han demostrado las evidencias arqueológicas. Las excavaciones realizadas en Chiapa de Corzo y otros sitios de la Depresión Central, como Mirador o Vistahermosa, aportan información de gran interés sobre los orígenes, formas de uso y desarrollo estilístico de...

  • La Venta’s Offering 4: Representation of Olmec Ritual Practices (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 395106] Arlene Colman.

    Offering 4 at La Venta consists of one brownstone and 15 greenstone human figurines arranged in front of six jade celts set on end. This unique offering was placed north of the pyramid in the Ceremonial Court of Complex A as part of a ritual activity that dedicated a new building phase in the court around 600 BC. It was associated with a massive serpentine pavement and a cruciform axe offering. About a century later, Offering 4 was reopened and checked. Offering 4 at La Venta conveys a story in...

    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 395118] Marisa Vázquez De Ágredos Pascual. Cristina Vidal Lorenzo. Patricia Horcajada Campos. Christa Schieber de Lavarreda.

    La arqueología, la iconografía y la epigrafía maya han identificado desde hace décadas la importancia que tuvo el aroma entre los antiguos mayas, en especial como parte de la escenografía simbólica que envolvió distintos acontecimientos políticos y religiosos de profunda significancia en la cosmovisión de esta antigua cultura prehispánica. Más recientemente, la arqueometría ha empezado a caracterizar algunas de estas antiguas y simbólicas fragancias, lo que nos permite entender con mayor...

  • Los Recintos Funerarios y la Veneración de los Antepasados en los Espacios Habitacionales del Grupo B de Naachtun, Guatemala (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 395109] Isaac Barrientos. Salazar Daniel. Sion Julien.

    Durante el período Clásico, el culto a los antepasados en la cultura maya tuvo muchos propósitos, como fundamentar el arraigo a un lugar y la ostentación del poder por parte de un grupo familiar o linaje; esto se lograba haciendo de la figura de los antepasados agentes socialmente activos, rememorados mediante eventos rituales dedicados a su persona. Las evidencias arqueológicas de estas prácticas sugieren un fuerte vínculo entre estos personajes y el espacio, materializado generalmente en los...

  • Material manifestation of ritual survival after abandonment (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 395117] Cristina Lorenzo. Gaspar Muñoz.

    The presence of burials placed on the floor of the palaces and private patios within elite complexes but without offerings are truthful testimonies about the time of the Mayan settlements abandonment at the end of the Classical Terminal period. Such burials have been found at the Acropolis of La Blanca (Petén, Guatemala). Years later, during the Early Postclassic period, when those buildings had already partially collapsed and debris covered Terminal Classic material vestiges, other individuals...

  • Measures of Intertextuality in the Language of Ritual in Late Preclassic Mayan Texts (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 395116] David Mora-Marin.

    Language serves to enact and commemorate ritual behavior. And ritual behavior, while embedded in tradition, is adaptive, and can serve to mediate and implement social and cultural change. This paper examines epigraphic evidence of relevance to ritual practices and their contextualization and recontextualization, with the goal of tracing the correlation between linguistic practices, on the one hand, and social and cultural change, on the other. The goal is to document and account for...

    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 395114] Didierd Boremanse.

    According to Lacandon worldview till the last century, the ruined buildings of Classic Maya culture, and the funerary caves found near small archaeological sites on the shores of lakes in the forest, were respectively the "houses" of celestial and terrestrial deities (who once lived on earth). From these shrines the ancestors of the Lacandon collected stone relics which they deposited at the bottom of their incense burners. A Lacandon censer is a clay pot with an anthropomorphic head modeled on...

  • Ritual practices at the Middle Preclassic site of Naranjo, Guatemala (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 395111] Barbara Arroyo.

    The site of Naranjo, located in the Central Maya highlands of Guatemala has an important occupation that begins around 800 BC. Here, many important rituals took place, some of them connected to the calendar and others as part of pilgrimage activities. Naranjo was part of a wider network of interaction as documented in the ceramics, site layout, sculptural practices, and figurine inventory. By 400 BC, the site was abandoned and continued like that until the Late Classic when a specific ritual...

  • The roles of the figurines of Oaxaca (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 395112] Violeta Vazquez Campa.

    The figurines were an essential part of prehistoric people in Mesoamerica. In Oaxaca, these figurines were essential for daily and religious life in the village stages. It has been subject of several hypotheses in its role and significance in life due to the same range and presence in most places in the Oaxaca region. However, we were unable to determine a specific role for each stage or a decisive site because we need to carry out further excavations in contexts that include them. In this...

  • Smoke Signals: Interpretations (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 395113] Marion Popenoe Hatch. Matilde Ivic de Monterroso.

    This paper compares expressions of ritualistic concepts that can be found on images on censers and on other artistic creations, including monuments and documents. The research concentrates on Late Preclassic and Early Classic developments in the Guatemala South Coast and Highlands but also uses relevant information from other areas. One of the objectives is to trace continuities and changes in forms of rituals and the manner in which individuals participated in them. It is found that contrasting...

  • The universe of ritual manifestations at Tak’alik Ab’aj (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT [ID: 395107] Christa Schieber de Lavarreda.

    Archaeological record of 27 years of research at the ancient site Tak’alik Ab’aj at the southwestern pacific piedmont of Guatemala have summed evidence of a wide range of different ritual activities and patterns, which as well are represented through a huge diversity of materials and artistic or handicraft skills employed. The pivotal role of Tak’alik Ab’aj as a long distance trade center and precocious cultural and religious "mecca" with "international flair" is reflected in the materials and...

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America