Community Diversity in the Archaeological Past and the Complicated Present: Ongoing Field Research and Civic Engagements in the Copan Valley, Honduras

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

From its earliest days, the archaeology of Copan demonstrated clear evidence for the diversity of its population, who immigrated to the Copan Valley from different regions. The record is further complicated by great variation in the locations and longevity of the different immigrants' habitation areas. Ongoing programs of archaeological field research and community engagement have embraced this diversity in the archaeological past, and the complexity and contested nature of identity, claims to heritage, and economic interests among the diverse contemporary communities and stakeholders in the Copan Valley, the country of Honduras, and the “Mundo Maya.” This session will highlight the ancient communities presently under active investigation in the Valley, and the varying theoretical approaches and research priorities of these active programs of fieldwork. The variation in goals and engagement with different sectors of the living population will also be explored, through discussions of present practice. As a World Heritage Site, Copan is home to new and innovative approaches to heritage management, to address the challenges and controversies that this complex set of communities has generated in the past and the present in the Copan Valley, in Honduras, and in the professional archaeological community.

Geographic Keywords
MesoamericaCentral America

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-11 of 11)

  • Documents (11)

  • Aplicación de la topometría digital en conservación e investigación de los monumentos mayas (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Adelso Canan. Alexandre Tokovinine. Barbara Fash.

    La documentación de los monumentos prehispánicos, ha sido uno de los objetivos principales de los investigadores de la cultura maya por la información que sus imágenes e inscripciones proveen sobre la historia, organización social y cosmovisión de los habitantes de las antiguas ciudades de Guatemala, México, Belice y Honduras. La documentación topométrica digital de alta resolución también conocida como escaneo en tres dimensiones (3D) representa una nueva fase en la investigación y...

  • A Bioarchaeological Approach to Diversity and Complexity of Ancient Maya Society at Copan: Results from New Strontium and Biodistance Data (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katherine Miller.

    The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Copan is uniquely situated to address the question of migration and culture contact in ancient Mesoamerica. The city is nestled at the southeastern frontier of the Maya region and the western edge of culturally diverse Honduras. Copan was a dynamic urban city populated by peoples of various places of origin, affiliations, and identities. Research focused on the Copan human skeletal collection, the largest yet recovered in Mesoamerica, to explore the lives of...

  • Engaged Investigation: Archaeology within Copán’s past and contemporary neighborhoods (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kristin Landau.

    Generations of Copán archaeologists have revealed the secrets of royal tombs and hieroglyphic inscriptions, as well as explored humble households of the rural periphery. A new project brings together these two initiatives to study the diversity of settlement within one particular neighborhood of the ancient city. Growth and change in the San Lucas neighborhood are articulated with major political events at Copán’s center to assess the degree of state integration, and more importantly, when, how,...

  • Exhibiciones fotográficas en el pueblo de Copán Ruinas: Arqueología y Comunidad desde 1890 hasta hoy día (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Karina Garcia. Barbara Fash.

    Desde 2007, las autoras han participado en una serie de proyectos de investigación de la comunidad recopilando información a base de entrevistas con personas locales antiguas, archivos, y colecciones fotográficas históricas relacionadas con la historia de la ciudad de Copán Ruinas y el yacimiento arqueológico de Copan, un Sitio de Patrimonio Mundial. Tomando en cuenta el contexto social de las primeras excavaciones, examinaremos cómo las exposiciones, "Memorias frágiles: Imágenes de arqueología...

  • Human/animal interactions in the Copan Valley from the beginning to the end of the Copan dynasty: Stable Isotope Analysis of the Felids from Altar Q and the Motmot dedicatory offerings (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Nawa Sugiyama. William L. Fash.

    In fifth century Copan, Honduras, beneath the city’s first dynastic monument a complete puma was offered beside a female human burial. Over three centuries later, under the watchful eye of sixteenth and final ruler of the dynasty Yax Pasaj, a series of sixteen felids (many of them jaguars) were placed in the dedicatory cache of Altar Q, the "stone of the founder." Here we investigate the remains of some of the largest carnivores on the landscape, the jaguar and puma, to analyze human-felid...

  • Identity on the Edge of the Kingdom: the Artifacts, Residences, and Ritual Areas of Río Amarillo, Copan (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Cameron McNeil. Edy Barrios. Walter Burgos.

    Excavations at the site of Río Amarillo, an ancient Maya town, reveal a community with complex affiliations influenced by the waxing and waning of Copan’s power. While seemingly autonomous during the Early Classic period, the Late Classic inhabitants of Rio Amarillo’s ritual core from the time of Ruler 12 through the reign of Ruler 16 embraced important aspects of the ideology and identity of the Maya city of Copan. These affiliations extended to an elite residential sector where a censer with a...

  • New approaches in archaeological research, heritage management and community engagement for the Copan Valley (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only William Fash. Barbara Fash.

    Archaeological sites in the Copan Valley have benefited from a number of large-scale Honduran government-sponsored and international research projects over the past 80 years. Those efforts have contributed strongly to the broad dissemination of knowledge about the ancient city, and the conservation of many Copan monuments and residential sites. However, even before the global recession and the traumatic events of the coup in 2009, it was clear that the State was challenged in trying to address...

  • Re-discovering the Copan Sub-Stelae Caches: A Collection Stewardship and Re-Identification Project (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alexis Hartford. Katherine Brunson. Barbara Fash.

    Beginning in 2013, the authors have engaged in an archaeological collection stewardship project at the ceramic artifact repository in the Centro Regional de Investigaciones Arqueológicas at Copan, Honduras. Responding to a request from the Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia to address a serious concern that the contextual information had become separated from hundreds of objects, we initiated a re-identification process to ensure the long-term care, access, and use of the ceramic...

  • Residue analysis of ceramic vessels from the Copan sub-stelae cache offerings (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katherine Brunson. Alexis Hartford. Barbara Fash. Hans Bernard. Kym Faull.

    Developing new ways to study collections of archaeological materials housed in storage facilities and museums is a key challenge for the future of archaeological research. Following the contextual re-identification of ceramic objects housed in Copan’s Centro Regional de Investigaciones Arqueológicas in 2013-2014, our team performed residue analysis on several objects that were excavated from sub-stela and altar caches at Copan during the 1930s. With their contexts re-established, these vessels...

  • Retos de la conservación arqueológica: Una vista desde Copan (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Isuara Nereyda Alonso. Antonia Martínez. César Antonio Martínez.

    Varios proyectos en marcha de capacitación e intervención están contribuyendo a la creación de un programa de conservación de campo sostenible para la arqueología de Copan. La construcción de un nuevo laboratorio para la conservación de la escultura y oportunidades para participar en talleres para personal local están ayudando a reforzar la misión del Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia y las ONG en el resguardo y conservación de este Sitio de Patrimonio Mundial. En este esta...

  • A Sacred and Defensible Hill and the Memory of Ruler 12 in Late Classic Copan, Honduras (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jorge Ramos.

    Inscribed monuments, iconography and archaeological correlates point out the pivotal role the founder of Copan's dynasty, K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo' played in the religious and political ideology of the local community. Moreover, several lines of evidence in the archaeology of Copan show the importance of the long-lived Ruler 12, K'ahk' Uti' Witz' K'awiil (ruling from 628 to 695 CE) in the Maya kingdom of Copan during the Late Classic period (600-820 CE). Recent research in the Copan Valley at the...