The Rebirth Of The Maize God: Contextualizing Burial 37 From El Perú-Waka’

Author(s): Juan Melendez

Year: 2015


At the core of the ancient Maya site of El Perú-Waka’, Petén, Guatemala, an elaborate burial was discovered inside Structure M12-32 dated to around AD 600. The burial contained human remains of a ruler, who probably belonged to the centipede dynasty, known in the past as Wak. The diversity of artifacts placed with the ruler, including a greenstone mosaic, pyrite mirror, and an alabaster vessel, suggest not only that this person was wealthy, but also asserts the important influence of El Perú with regards to trade in the Southern Maya Lowlands during the end of the sixth century. However, not much was known regarding the significance of this funerary precinct, therefore its meaning was explored through the application of the contextual analysis method, which takes into consideration the arrangement of offerings and the iconographic study of symbols depicted on material culture. The results suggest that the ruler in Burial 37 and the grave goods that accompanied him into the afterlife are narrowly associated to the conception of the world tree, considered the axis mundi in Maya cosmology. Moreover, some of the artifacts could refer to the potential name of this king.

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Cite this Record

The Rebirth Of The Maize God: Contextualizing Burial 37 From El Perú-Waka’. Juan Melendez. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397933)

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Geographic Keywords
Central America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.702; min lat: 6.665 ; max long: -76.685; max lat: 18.813 ;