Preclassic Maya Territories and Boundaries
Author(s): James Doyle
Many Classic period (ca. AD 250-900) polities owe the location of their royal courts to decisions made by settlers in the Preclassic period (ca. 1000 BC – AD 250). This presentation evaluates the basic question of whether there is evidence of territories or political boundaries in the Preclassic Maya Lowlands. In the past, I have argued that Middle Preclassic residents constructed monumental E-Group architecture at specific places on the landscape as a conscious creation of distance between themselves and their neighbors. I based my conclusion on viewshed analysis that showed that early communities had complementary visible access to the landscape, in other words, non-overlapping views when measured from the E-Group. Here I interrogate the meaning of the perceived distance or implied boundaries between these monumental centers.
I include the latest evidence from ceramic production. The Mamom sphere ceramics, produced for several hundred years across the Maya Lowlands, complicate the question, as we lack any long-range studies of regional or polity-scale differences in the raw materials, production technology, or surface decoration of these vessels. I also reexamine the original data set of similar plazas and pyramidal architecture in the Middle Preclassic given new discoveries in recent years.
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Cite this Record
Preclassic Maya Territories and Boundaries. James Doyle. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395253)
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min long: -94.702; min lat: 6.665 ; max long: -76.685; max lat: 18.813 ;