Architectural Planning and Shared Political Traditions in the Belize River Valley

Author(s): Rafael Guerra; Claire Ebert; Jaime Awe

Year: 2016


The presence of shared architectural elements and configurations between major ancient Maya centers has often been attributed to socio-political affiliation and/or emulation of influential centers by their neighbors. In this paper, we examine the site plans and settlement systems for the monumental centers of Cahal Pech and Lower Dover in the Belize Valley to identify parallel trends of the growth of monumental architecture through time. Cahal Pech is one of the earliest permanently settled sites in the region (1200 cal BC), and experienced continual growth of monumental architecture and settlement until the Terminal Classic Maya “collapse” (~cal AD 800). The site core of Lower Dover, established later during the Late Classic Period (~cal AD 500), exhibits similar configuration of architectural elements as Cahal Pech, including an east-west spatial orientation. While the location of residential settlements at each site may have been ecologically dependent, similarities in the placement of public and private spaces at the elite centers of each site suggest that Lower Dover was closely tied to Cahal Pech, perhaps sharing a common socio-political lineage.

Cite this Record

Architectural Planning and Shared Political Traditions in the Belize River Valley. Rafael Guerra, Claire Ebert, Jaime Awe. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403746)


Cahal Pech

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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