Branching Out: Cerro Maya as a Strategic Link in a Preclassic Maya Exchange Network

Author(s): Debra Walker

Year: 2015


Ours is the first generation of Maya archaeologists to be fully rooted in Maya history. Thanks to our mentors, and especially cooperation between epigraphers and archaeologists, we have come to know the faces, names and life stories of important figures in our own New World history, epics that rival those of the Old World. The telling of these stories is a work in progress, however, our mentors, Linda Schele and David Freidel, provided a courageous and insightful first effort at embodying the color and complexity of Maya history in prose through the publication of A Forest of Kings in 1990.

While our understanding of Cerro Maya (Cerros) has evolved since the volume was produced, the site remains an early royal tree in the Maya forest. Rather than inventing kingship de novo from a prospering fishing and trade economy, recent research suggests Cerro Maya, the place, was strategically selected to co-opt an existing trade network. In short, the site was probably founded as a branch of a larger Preclassic polity with a substantial capital investment from that site. Material evidence points to Quintana Roo as the root of that royal tree.

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Cite this Record

Branching Out: Cerro Maya as a Strategic Link in a Preclassic Maya Exchange Network. Debra Walker. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396137)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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