Critter Caching: Animals in Household Rituals at the Maya Site of Ceibal, Guatemala

Author(s): Ashley Sharpe

Year: 2015


With an occupational history spanning nearly two millennia, the Maya site of Ceibal provides a rare opportunity to study the remains of ritual practices and domestic activities at household groups over a long scale of time. This study examines the zooarchaeological remains, both bones and shells, recovered from household caches, burials, and middens from several peripheral locations around the Ceibal site epicenter. The diversity of household types and extended time frame provides an opportunity to explore how the composition of middens and ritual deposits changed over time, how certain animal species and parts may have been appropriated toward different ritual performances (for example, human burials versus dedicatory caches), and how animals that were used in ritual activities at the peripheral household level compare to Ceibal's epicenter cache deposits. Finally, changes in domestic and ritual practices involving animals are compared over time in relation to what is already known of Ceibal's turbulent site history, in an effort to understand the manner and degree to which these societal developments affected the livelihoods of household occupants.

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Cite this Record

Critter Caching: Animals in Household Rituals at the Maya Site of Ceibal, Guatemala. Ashley Sharpe. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395333)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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