Integrating and Disintegrating in Central Yucatán: Archaeological Approaches to Social Change at Multiple Scales

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

This session explores the dual processes of integration and disintegration primarily through research in the central Yucatán region of the Northern Maya Lowlands. From Formative through Colonial Periods, central Yucatán was shaped by the convergence of distinct styles, variable household practices, inter-site causeway systems, long-distance exchange, and cosmopolitan identities. We hope to show that integration and disintegration were not restricted to Classic period kings and elites, but date back to the emergence of monumental communities, through the historic period, affecting all levels of society. Archaeologists are often compelled to study integration, the processes and dynamics by which social entities (communities, cities, and states) came together to incorporate wider populations. Of equal importance, this session also focuses on disintegration, the processes by which those social entities, held together by kinship, tradition, and memory, splintered apart. This session investigates these dual processes across multiple scales of social entities, from individual actors and households to communities and regions. By studying both integration and disintegration as two ends of a continuum of social change, we gain a more dynamic perspective of what change meant for institutions, populations, and the daily practices and identities of people living in central Yucatán and beyond.

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

  • Documents (11)

  • Famine Foods and Food Security in Ancient and Modern Yaxuna (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Harper Dine. Traci Ardren.

    Food as an object of study can reveal relationships between biological necessity, culture, and oppression. The 1996 World Summit on Food Security declared that "food should not be used as an instrument for political and economic pressure," yet archaeology shows myriad ways in which food access was manipulated in the past, and the ramifications of those manipulations. In the Maya area, prestige foods have tended to be the focus of analysis. In this paper, we emphasize the importance of the...

  • From Household to Polity: (Dis)integration along the Ucí-Cansahcab Causeway in the Northern Maya Lowlands (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Barry Kidder. Scott Hutson. Jacob Welch. Daniel Vallejo-Cáliz. Shannon Plank.

    Over the past decade, the Ucí-Cansahcab Regional Integration Project (UCRIP) has utilized multiples scales of analysis, from broad household excavations to large swathes of LiDAR collection, to examine the social processes of community (dis)integration of a polity in the northern Maya Lowlands. This polity, headed by Ucí, was integrated by an 18-km-long inter-site causeway system by the Terminal Preclassic and connected the emerging regional capital with three secondary sites. Extensive test...

  • The Ghost of Functionalism (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Stephanie Miller.

    This paper considers the assumptions, limitations, and greater implications that a theory of integration-disintegration has for analyzing social change across space and time. It reviews the historical foundations of the concept of integration as it emerged in enlightenment social theory and considers how the concept of integration has been repeatedly and uncritically co-opted into various discourses of archaeological theory. An alternative framework for thinking about social change will be...

  • In the Realm of Lady Six Sky: The Place of Ikil in the Late-Terminal Classic Itza Landscape (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Aline Magnoni. Travis Stanton. Vania Carillo Bosch. Cesar Torres Ochoa. Tanya Cariño Anaya.

    Due to the proximity, contemporaneity, and some architectural and ceramic similarities with Chichén Itzá and Yaxuna, Ikil provides an important opportunity to understand the political and socioeconomic integration present in the Late-Terminal Classic in the region southwest of Chichén Itzá, as the seat of regional power was transferred from Yaxuná to Chichen Itzá. The Proyecto de Interacción Pólitica del Centro de Yucatán (PIPCY) has been investigating the site of Ikil since 2008. Ikil was...

  • Integrating and Disintegrating the North Acropolis of Yaxuna, Yucatan, Mexico. (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Nelda Marengo.

    The North Acropolis of Yaxuna was the primary focus of ritual and administrative life at the site during the Classic period and functioned as a focal point for involving the local population in integrative activities. Yet architectural evidence suggests that this architectural complex changed in function over the course of its use. The acropolis was first built in the Late Formative and was modified up until the Late Postclassic. We argue that the changes we see in the architecture in this...

  • Integrating Generations on the Formative Maya Landscape: Households and Communities at Tzacauil (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Chelsea Fisher.

    Many Maya centers owe their longevity to the long-term persistence of their households, which were integrated as continuous social units throughout multiple generations. Yet how did the integration of the multigenerational Maya household first emerge? I address this question through the lens of the early farming village of Tzacauil, Yucatán, Mexico. In the Late Formative period (250 BC – AD 250)—the era in which Tzacauil was occupied and abandoned—people in the Maya area began using stone to...

  • La Arquitectura como Indicador de Integración Social en la Región de Yaxuná (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Gustavo Novelo Rincon.

    Las investigaciones realizadas en Yaxuná y parte de su área circundante han mostrado un complejo panorama que se manifiesta en el número y variedad de asentamientos prehispánicos, así como en la coexistencia de patrones y elementos culturales de diverso origen. Partiendo de que la arquitectura, como evidencia arqueológica, ha sido interpretada como el reflejo de la forma en que los individuos y grupos sociales conciben, organizan y construyen su espacio, en este trabajo se presenta un breve...

  • Monumental Recycling: The Inevitably Perilous Relationship between Shifting Integrative Strategies and Yaxuná’s E-group Plaza (900 BCE to 100 CE) (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ryan Collins.

    Over four consecutive field seasons, the Proyecto de Interaccion Politica del Centro de Yucatan investigated the plaza and several buildings in Yaxuná’s E-group, granting new insight into the site’s origins and development from a modest ceremonial complex into a monumental urban center. Excavations over the east-west centerline of the plaza generated data on several distinct commemorative events spanning 11 floor phases. Nonetheless, each of the observed traditions is fraught with continuities...

  • (Re)integrating Cultures at Cacalchen: Recent Excavations at Two Rral Chapels in Central Yucatan (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Julie Wesp. Traci Ardren. Melissa Haun. Harper Dine. Roger Sierra.

    The arrival of Europeans to the Americas in the sixteenth century forever changed processes of cultural integration. This paper explores how small Maya communities in Central Yucatan navigated the process of integration of new religious practices and the use of pre-existing structures in the landscape. This examination stems from recent excavations of two different rural chapel structures at the site of Cacalchen, located in the greater Yaxuna region between the towns of Yaxcabá and...

  • Sea Change: Maritime Maya Lifeways, Social Organization and Dynamics at the Port of Isla Cerritos, Yucatán (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Dylan Clark.

    Mesoamerican archaeology typically approaches social, cultural, political, and economic dynamics from a center-periphery perspective, tracing the historical pulses of integration and disintegration through the lens of the urban centers of the social and cosmological landscape. While the coastal Maya may seem peripheral geographically, maritime communities were actually central integrative forces throughout their dynamic histories. They facilitated and motivated movements and interactions of...

  • Using LiDAR and Ground Survey to Understand Regional Settlement Patterns in Terminal Classic Central Yucatan (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Travis Stanton. Aline Magnoni. Jessica Wheeler. Nicolas Barth.

    The first research performed by the Proyecto de Interaccion Politica del Centro de Yucatan centered on understanding the impact of Chichen Itza in the region to the southwest of this Terminal Classic city. Working in an area of roughly 500 square kilometers around the site of Yaxuna we performed traditional ground reconnaissance and mapping at numerous centers in the region from 2007 to 2013 to better understand regional settlement patterns and how they changed with the establishment and growth...