Maya Highland and Pacific Coast Archaeology: New Data, Debates, and Directions Part 1

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Recent archaeological investigations in the Highlands and Pacific Coast of Guatemala and Chiapas, combined with major chronological revisions, are challenging traditional characterizations of this complex region of Mesoamerica and fueling new debates and correlations with neighboring regions. In this symposium, case studies picked from a broad range of sub-regions will serve to highlight this complexity, while also focusing attention on a number of key themes, including: stability and change, inter and intra-regional interaction, and community and ethnic identity. Researchers will discuss the theoretical, methodological, and technical approaches they are using to address these topics and present new data derived from recent analyses of material culture, sculpture, architecture, and settlement patterns. The symposium will serve to update scholars from neighboring areas of Mesoamerica on recent research, and will also stimulate increased communication, collaboration, and data-sharing among current regional and sub-regional specialists.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-10 of 10)

  • Documents (10)

  • Changing Faces: Evolutions in Art at Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lucia Henderson.

    The site of Kaminaljuyu experienced intensive ideological and material cultural change from the Preclassic through the early Classic period. Certain artistic forms and ideological precepts, however, simultaneously demonstrate remarkable continuity. This talk focuses specifically on public messages communicated through stone sculpture as well as, to a lesser degree, messages communicated by elite and royal funerary contexts in order to access continuity and change in Kaminaljuyu’s archaeological...

  • Entangled Ideologies on the Pacific Coast: the Teotihuacan-style Maya censers from the Department of Escuintla, Guatemala (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Dorie Reents-Budet. Annabeth Headdrick. Ronald Bishop.

    Teotihuacan-style censers from the Pacific Coast of Guatemala are seminal markers of "international" interaction and ideology during the Early Classic Period (250-550 CE). But the paucity of archaeological data for this artifact class and the lack of recent in-depth analysis of their iconographic narratives leave unexplored a potential body of material concerning interaction, identity, and ideological shifts in this gateway region of southern Mesoamerica. Data from archaeological investigations,...

  • Formative-period Izapa Kingdom at Its Neighbors (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Robert Rosenswig.

    Mesoamerica is one of the cradles of civilization where the first kingdoms and states emerged during the latter part of the first millennium BCE. Recent lidar mapping and pedestrian survey documents the extent and internal political structure of the Izapa kingdom from its emergence at 700 BCE through its collapse after 100 BCE. At its peak, a four-tiered political hierarchy maintained internal cohesion and the distribution of large centers around the kingdom’s perimeter established external...

  • Investigations at San Andres Semetabaj and the Problematics of Middle to Late PreClassic Highland Archaeology (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Arthur Demarest. Carlos Alvarado. Tomas Barrientos.

    The site of San Andres Semetabaj, Guatemala, located on the northern edge of Lake Atitlan, is central, geographically and chronologically, to major theoretical and culture-historical controversies and problems of PreClassic highland archaeology. The size, nature, and importance of the site have been underestimated, in part due to limited available information based only on smaller preliminary seasons and a looted tomb and also due to the assumption by many that the very large structures there...

  • Izapa and Highland El Salvador: Terminal Formative and Classic Period Ties (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Rebecca Mendelsohn.

    This paper explores coastal and highland interaction in southern Mesoamerica between coastal Chiapas and highland El Salvador. Published accounts of Salvadoran excavations have reported that ties between highland Salvadoran sites and Mesoamerica declined at the close of the Formative period with the eruption of the Ilopango volcano. The dating of the Ilopango eruption has since been updated, and an renewed look at interaction between these zones is necessary. This paper reviews archaeological...

  • Late Formative Through Early Classic Occupation History in Eastern Soconusco (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Hector Neff. Sachiko Sakai. Brendan Culleton. Douglas Kennett.

    Deposits in the mangrove zone south of Izapa have abundant debris from salt and ceramic production, consistent with pyro-industrial specialization based on fuel wood and other resources. These archaeological deposits are also relatively intact, and thus they offer the opportunity to test hypotheses about demographic trends derived from more chronologically ambiguous deposits of the coastal plain and piedmont. A regional demographic bottleneck has been suggested for the Early Classic, when survey...

  • New Perspectives on the Maya Highland Site of Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Barbara Arroyo.

    Recent data has been unearthed on Kaminaljuyu during the last five years. Despite Guatemala City´s growth, much information is still under the ground. A continuous program has allowed for the piecing together of various research programs carried out at the site. An effort to integrate most of the research and rescue programs has been done to obtain a comprehensive perspective of the culture history of the site. This paper will present data on recent research, focusing on the significant...

  • PIN7, a diachronic study of a specialized production in Eastern Soconusco (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Marx Navarro-Castillo. Hector Neff.

    Soconusco, a rich ecological environment in far-southern Chiapas, Mexico, has been occupied throughout Mesoamerican history. The Proyecto Arqueológico Costa del Soconusco (PACS) focused on settlements in the mangrove zone of Eastern Soconusco. A LiDAR survey identified a total of 203 features thought to be associated with human activities. This paper focuses on site Pin7, which is located in the mangrove zone about 1.5 km west of the Rio Cahuacan. Magnetometer and ground-penetrating radar...

  • Thirty Years After La Mojarra: Epi-Olmec Writing Revisited (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Stephanie Strauss.

    Almost a century after William H. Holmes published the first study of the incomparable Tuxtla Statuette, the La Mojarra Stela was recovered from the Acula River in Veracruz, Mexico. In the three decades that followed, the hieroglyphic script that pours over these objects has been scrutinized and debated, named and renamed, both deciphered and declared undecipherable. This paper reflects on the status of Isthmian studies and explores the intricacies of Epi-Olmec visual culture as it is understood...

  • Where is Tak’alik Ab’aj Within the Fabric of Preclassic Interrelations? (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Christa Schieber De Lavarreda. Miguel Orrego.

    Three decades of research at Tak’alik Ab’aj have repeatedly confirmed that this ancient site at the southwestern piedmont of Guatemala was an important link of the transcultural trade-network along the Pacific littoral of Mesoamerica. This presumes strong and functional interactions among the stronghold-players of this hanseatic system operating during a given timespan by means of a common shared concept proposed as "market of rituality", permeated in each case according their own local nature...