Ballgame Ritual: Authority and its Transformation during Late Classic Collapse


One of the characteristic features of the Classic Veracruz style complex is ballgame imagery on ballcourt panels, molded ceramic vessels, paraphernalia such as yokes, hachas and palmas, not to mention the presence of courts, markers, and stelae or other monuments. Various components of the Classic Veracruz style have been documented throughout the Gulf lowlands and adjoining regions of Mesoamerica. Few examples, however, derive from stratigraphic excavations of in situ deposits. In this presentation, we document the discovery, excavation, and preliminary interpretations of a monument-yoke-offering complex at the site of Matacanela, located in the south-central Tuxtla Mountains. We also present convincing evidence for associated decapitation ritual. We conclude by assessing these new data and offering suggestions regarding the transitioning of authority at the center. We situate the Matacanela complex within the larger region and demographic, political, and economic transformations that occurred at the end of the Classic period.

Cite this Record

Ballgame Ritual: Authority and its Transformation during Late Classic Collapse. Marcie Venter, Lourdes Budar, Philip J. Arnold III. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404111)


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Spatial Coverage

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