Preclassic Causeways of the Mirador Basin, Guatemala


A vast system of inter-site highways (sacbes or sacbeob) traversed an inhabited countryside between the major urban centers of the Kan kingdom in the Mirador Basin. Development of this system began during the Middle Preclassic period and continued throughout the Late Preclassic period (ca. 600 B.C.– A.D. 150). Over time, these transportation routes branched and transformed within densely populated centers to become a network of elevated causeways, processional boulevards with ritual and cosmological significance, thoroughfares, and secondary roadways. In addition to transportation, communication, and ceremonial aspects inter-site and intra-site causeways functioned as critical elements of regional and localized water management strategies that integrated with upland terrace and wetland margin agricultural systems. Here we present some results from ongoing mapping and excavations of these impressive features of ancient Maya civilization that were conducted by the Mirador Basin Project during the past two decades of field study.

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Cite this Record

Preclassic Causeways of the Mirador Basin, Guatemala. Thomas Schreiner, Enrique Hernandez, David Wahl, Richard Hansen. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397294)


Spatial Coverage

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