New Faces, New Pressures, New Pots: Collective identities in action in the ceramic record at Lamanai, Belize

Author(s): Linda Howie

Year: 2015


For the ancient Maya residing at the urban center of Lamanai, the period encompassing the Maya Collapse and its aftermath (A.D. 750-1150) was a time of significant changes in the fabric of day-to-day life. Widespread economic and political instability across the Lowland region seriously impacted both community and extra-local affairs. Networks of socio-economic interaction and affiliation were disrupted and people were on the move, seeking to relocate to more stable environs. The strong evidence at Lamanai for the presence of migrants indicates that significant changes in community make-up did occur. Ceramic change during this period indicates shifts in manufacturing priorities, patterns of demand, and ritual and ceremonial practice that reveal a new emphasis on fostering a shared sense of community ‘oneness’. Although Lamanai’s story is ultimately one of community resilience, this paper examines the social dynamics of the process of community integration that enabled this outcome. Drawing from the extensive stylistic, petrographic, geochemical and microstructural data on the development of local ceramic manufacturing traditions, this paper examines: 1) how individual and collective social identities and relationships changed, and 2) how these social dynamics of community integration may have contributed to successful mitigation of real and perceived pressures on multiple scales.

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Cite this Record

New Faces, New Pressures, New Pots: Collective identities in action in the ceramic record at Lamanai, Belize. Linda Howie. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397121)

Spatial Coverage

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