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.