Territorial Organization in the Upper Belize River Valley: Multi-Scalar Settlement Patterns at Baking Pot


Evidence suggests that the influence of regional polities in the Upper Belize River Valley shifted through time, with political centers ascending and declining in power. Archaeological research by the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance (BVAR) project utilizes a regional approach to understand the political development and disintegration of three major centers: Cahal Pech, Baking Pot, and Lower Dover. This paper uses a multi-scalar settlement approach to understanding territorial organization in the Upper Belize River valley through time. Regional perspectives utilize LiDAR data supplemented by systematic surveys and excavations, focusing on spatial patterns that distinguish territories between sites. Extensive settlement research at Baking Pot allows for more fine-grained analysis of political and economic interaction through time. At the site level, we focus on distinguishing settlement clusters and their relationships with natural and constructed features. We present the geochemical results of an XRF analysis on obsidian artifacts to understand patterns in resource procurement and exchange networks. At the community level, we focus on Settlement Cluster C, to examine strategies of community interaction and integration. At the household level, we assess patterns of household production, ritual, and political interaction. We contrast Preclassic, Classic, and Postclassic patterns to identify major changes in organization through time.

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Territorial Organization in the Upper Belize River Valley: Multi-Scalar Settlement Patterns at Baking Pot. Jaime Awe, Richard George, Rafael Guerra, Claire Ebert, Julie Hoggarth. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395255)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;