The Coming of Kings in the Belize River Valley

Author(s): Jason Yaeger; M. Kathryn Brown

Year: 2015


Twenty five years have passed since Linda Schele and David Friedel presented their thoughts on the origins and establishment of the institution of kingship in their book "A Forest of Kings." Their historical reconstruction of Cerros illustrates the steps taken by early rulers to establish and institutionalize a hierarchical social system. Through the empirical data from Cerros, they artfully illuminate how the construction and display of symbols of royal power on monumental buildings coupled with elaborate ritual displays, allowed emergent kings to solidify their newly defined role within the community. In this paper, we present data from the Belize River valley pertaining to the "Coming of Kings." We assess how emerging kings established and legitimized their authority through the construction of monumental architecture, public art, ritual deposits, elaborate burials, and symbolically charged portable objects. We then compare these data to the Cerros trajectory laid out in "A Forest of Kings."

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Cite this Record

The Coming of Kings in the Belize River Valley. M. Kathryn Brown, Jason Yaeger. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396138)


Kinship Maya Preclassic

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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