Stop and Go Traffic: Power, Movement, and Emplacement in the Piedras Negras and Yaxchilan Kingdoms


This paper explores the many sides of the natural and supernatural landscape surrounding the Classic period Maya kingdoms of Piedras Negras and Yaxchilan with a particular focus on how the rulers of these polities struggled with one another for control of movement across the broken terrain of hills, cliffs, valleys, swamps, and rivers that define the Middle Usumacinta River basin. The standard image of a rather homogenous landscape in the Maya lowlands is quickly dispensed with in the Middle Usumacinta, and the challenges of transporting goods and conducting warfare across such a terrain was made all the more difficult by a complex network of defenses that regulated movement. Exploring the archaeological and epigraphic sources from Piedras Negras, Yaxchilan and their surrounding noble courts and hinterland settlements we can begin to envision and experience the dynamic sense of place that was central to the political lives in the Maya west.

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Cite this Record

Stop and Go Traffic: Power, Movement, and Emplacement in the Piedras Negras and Yaxchilan Kingdoms. Jeffrey Dobereiner, Andrew K. Scherer, Charles Golden, Whittaker Schroder. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395994)


Landscape Maya

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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