tDAR Logo tDAR digital antiquity

Shifting Perceptions of Local Heritage: Community Archaeology in Aguacate village, Toledo district, southern Belize

Author(s): Claire Novotny

Year: 2015

» Downloads & Basic Metadata


The recent expansion of community-based approaches to archaeological research signifies a renegotiation of how, and for whom, historical knowledge is produced. This paper reviews the implementation of a community-based archaeological heritage program in the Toledo district of southern Belize. Research conducted by the Aguacate Community Archaeology Project seeks to understand the degree of social, political, and economic integration of ancient Maya households with regional political centers during the Classic period (AD 250-850). Archaeological excavations conducted in collaboration with Aguacate, a Q‘eqchi’ Maya village, and Tumul K’in Center of Learning, a Maya-run high school, not only enhance our understanding of how ancient rural farmers negotiated regional social and economic relationships, but also become a nexus of negotiated engagement between Aguacate villagers, Maya high school students, and archaeologists. This paper explores how engagement with diverse publics over multiple field seasons revealed differing claims, perspectives, and priorities surrounding archaeological resources. Ultimately, incorporating public perceptions of archaeology resulted in the protection of archaeological sites and renewed interest in local Maya heritage.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Cite this Record

Shifting Perceptions of Local Heritage: Community Archaeology in Aguacate village, Toledo district, southern Belize. Claire Novotny. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396969)


Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America