The Intermediate Elite of the Puuc Maya Suburbs: Excavations at Terminal Classic Escalera al Cielo
Seven years of extensive horizontal excavations at the Terminal Classic suburban hilltop complex of Escalera al Cielo have uncovered nearly the full range of social and economic activities undertaken by a class of intermediate elites on the edge of the Kiuic polity. Rather than considering Escalera al Cielo as simply another rung in the settlement hierarchy, we view it as a constituted community that formed and maintained ties of affiliation with the urban elite of Kiuic and with the commoners who inhabited surrounding hilltops. A distinct community identity was formulated at Escalera al Cielo through several practices, including episodic ritual events, the investment of wealth into stone houses, the construction of a civic-ceremonial center, and a variety of more mundane economic activities. Around 1000 A.D., the inhabitants of this community rapidly abandoned the hilltop, but cached materials in such a manner as to suggest an anticipated return. Given the demographic collapse of the Puuc around this time, Escalera al Cielo may serve as microcosm of the booming Terminal Classic Puuc Maya economy, but also of the consequences of high population densities coupled with intensive resource exploitation.
Cite this Record
The Intermediate Elite of the Puuc Maya Suburbs: Excavations at Terminal Classic Escalera al Cielo. Evan Parker, George Bey III, Tomás Gallareta Negrón, Stephanie Simms, Amanda Strickland. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403114)
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min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;