After the Volcano Erupted: Papers in Honor of Payson Sheets (Part 2)

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL (2016)

Payson Sheets has led research at the UNESCO World Heritage Maya site of Ceren, El Salvador since its discovery in 1978, as well as a variety of projects throughout Meso- and Central America. The contributions of Sheets' work have wide-ranging methodological and theoretical impacts throughout archaeology. Symposium participants contribute presentations of their original research in areas influenced by Payson’s work and highlight the extensive contributions of his research across the discipline. These papers tie together important aspects of reconstructing the past, such as the application of remote sensing to archaeology, the impacts of ancient natural disasters on human populations, the daily lives of commoners, advances in household archaeology, and progress in stone tool manufacture, production, and meanings. Holistic interpretations of the importance and contributions of all members of ancient societies, particularly commoners, have characterized Payson’s influences on the field and will be reflected in the papers of this session. In Part 2 of this two-part symposium, participants emphasize Payson’s contributions to the development of archaeological method and theory in Mesoamerica and beyond.

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  • Documents (8)

  • Gathered for the Feast: Community and Polity Ceremony in the Lower Río Verde Valley (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Barber. Arthur Joyce.

    Among Payson Sheets’ many contributions to archaeological method and theory is a long-term commitment to examining the actions and relationships of commoners. Taking inspiration from his work at Cerén on community ceremony, in this paper we examine collective ceremonial practices at two Terminal Formative period (C.E. 100 – 250) sites in the lower Río Verde valley of Pacific coastal Oaxaca, Mexico. The site of Yugüe, like Cerén, was a small site that was located only four kilometers away from a...

  • Households, Ritual, and the Origins of Social Complexity in the Maya Lowlands: A View From the Karinel Group, Ceibal, Guatemala (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jessica MacLellan. Takeshi Inomata.

    Payson Sheets’ work at Ceren has greatly influenced investigations of ancient Maya households at both Aguateca and Ceibal. Here we focus on recent excavations at the Karinel Group, a residential area at Ceibal. Due to its early foundation, Ceibal presents an opportunity to investigate multiple aspects of the origins of ancient Maya society. We discuss the development of the patio group, the typical Maya arrangement of stone house platforms around an open space, often rebuilt and reoccupied for...

  • Obsidian in the Southwest (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Stephen Lekson. Catherine Cameron.

    Payson Sheets has often been on the cutting/bleeding edge of obsidian research. We review current obsidian studies in the Southwest, as a proxy for social/economic interaction. We comment on confirmed or tentative sightings of Mexican obsidian in and around the region, also as a proxy for social/economic interaction.

  • Pioneering Archaeology in Nicaragua (1983) (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Frederick Lange.

    Three years after the Triumph of the Sandinista Revolution in 1979, this author was invited by the Council of National Reconstruction to assist Nicaraguan cultural authorities in developing an archaeological research program for the Pacific side of the country. The revolutionary government had made a conscious decision to prioritize the protection and investigation of the cultural heritage. I had conducted extensive research in northwestern Costa Rica, known to be similar to southern Pacific...

  • Prehistoric Rootpaths in Costa Rica: Transportation and Communication in a Tropical Forest (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Thomas Sever.

    The objective of this research is to understand human adaptation and survival in a tropical forest environment that was buried through time by six volcanic eruptions. Through the use of remote sensing and GIS technology an ancient footpath network has been discovered that connects villages, cemeteries, springs, and other cultural features upon a forested landscape. A combination of aerial and satellite data was used to locate archeological features invisible to the human eye. This information...

  • Technical Analysis of Hohokam Stone Palettes from Pueblo Grande Museum (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mark Chenault.

    In a graduate seminar on flaked and ground stone analysis, Payson Sheets emphasized the importance of experimental replication of production techniques for lithic analysis. In this study, I build upon the work of another of Payson's students, Devin White, who analyzed Hohokam palettes in the collections at Arizona State Museum in Tucson, and apply his methods to the analysis of palettes at Pueblo Grande Museum in Phoenix. In addition, I attempt to replicate some of the techniques used in the...

  • There and Back Again: A Space Archaeology Journey (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Parcak.

    This paper will discuss the range and type of studies possible based on past and current advances in the field of satellite remote sensing. It will focus on work in the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean, Europe, and North Atlantic. The paper will primarily focus on the range and type of questions is it possible to ask (and in some cases answer) using a diverse range of satellite datasets combined with intensive ground survey and excavation. It will also provide a range if...

  • Volcanos, Imagery, and Footpaths: Research in Costa Rica (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Errin Weller.

    Over multiple field seasons, Dr. Payson Sheets has led the Proyecto Prehistorico Arenal in the Northwest corner of Costa Rica. A landscape characterized by repeated volcanic eruptions has resulted in the preservation of prehistoric footpaths. Dr. Sheets established a methodology combining satellite imagery and archaeology that could differentiate between erosional, historic, and prehistoric footpath features. This paper will focus on this methodology and Dr. Sheets’ contribution to remote...