Residential Architecture at Caracol, Belize: Conjoined Buildings and Distributed Space

Author(s): Adrian Chase; Diane Chase; Arlen Chase

Year: 2015


During the Classic Period (A.D. 550-900), the ancient Maya inhabitants of Caracol resided in formally constructed residential groups comprised of a series of buildings. These residential groups are believed to have been occupied by extended families. Some of the structures constituted formal residences, but other structures served a variety of functions, ranging from cooking to storage. Additionally, over two-thirds of Caracol’s residential groups had at least one eastern building that was utilized as a ritual locus associated with a cyclical deposition caches and burials. Residential groups were distributed over an anthropogenic landscape that had been modified for intensive terrace agriculture; each group appears to have had control of enough land to have been agriculturally self-sufficient. Most households at Caracol also produced one or more crafts that permitted the inhabitants of residential groups to obtain necessary items at the site’s markets. The level of social well-being in the site’s residential groups has been interpreted as a conscious management strategy called symbolic egalitarianism. Archaeological information exists for 134 residential groups at Caracol and three dozen of these groups have been intensively investigated. These data are useful for framing variable social practices that existed in the Classic Maya area.

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Cite this Record

Residential Architecture at Caracol, Belize: Conjoined Buildings and Distributed Space. Adrian Chase, Arlen Chase, Diane Chase. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396598)

Spatial Coverage

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