Timing the Development of Household Complexity at Cahal Pech, Belize


Understanding the settlement and growth of ancient communities into spatially, demographically, and socio-politically complex polities is one of several critical research issues in Maya archaeology. The major polity of Cahal Pech, located in the Belize River Valley, provides a unique case study for understanding the development of complexity because of its long occupational history, from the Early Preclassic (~1200-1000 cal BC) until the Terminal Classic Period Maya “collapse” (~cal AD 800-900). In this paper we present the results of high-resolution AMS 14C dating of organic and human remains from several hinterland residential groups associated with the Cahal Pech polity. Our chronology provides a framework for measuring differences in architecture and artifacts between domestic contexts over time, allowing us to identify trends related to changing social status and wealth. We compare our results to similar social and political developments taking place within the Cahal Pech elite monumental core, and at polities elsewhere in the Belize Valley.

Cite this Record

Timing the Development of Household Complexity at Cahal Pech, Belize. Claire Ebert, Nancy Peniche May, Jaime Awe, Brendan Culleton, Douglas Kennett. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403744)


Spatial Coverage

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