Bread (nut) Pit? Determining the function of San Bartolo chultúns

Author(s): Sadie Weber; Lauren Santini

Year: 2016


San Bartolo, located in the Petén of Guatemala, boasts the earliest examples of Maya murals and writing known to date in Mesoamerica. Despite the extensive work in the monumental sector of the site, comparatively less work has been carried out on the domestic sectors. Like many Maya sites, chultúns are a common though enigmatic feature. High quantities of charcoal and household refuse recovered during the chultún excavations, including ground stone, animal bones, worked bone, and wood charcoal suggest that the chultúns were used as middens for refuse, rather than for food storage or fermentation, but it is indeed possible that they had multiple functions throughout their use lives. While previous studies – both experimental and archaeological – have proposed various, multi-faceted functions of ancient chultúns, each context is different. Here, we present the results of microbotanical analysis carried out on ashy deposits of 2 chultún middens located inside collapsed house mounds from San Bartolo to better understand the use-life of chultúns. We also present the results of experimental attempts to replicate the taphonomic processes affecting micro-botanical preservation in these environments.

Cite this Record

Bread (nut) Pit? Determining the function of San Bartolo chultúns. Sadie Weber, Lauren Santini. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404236)


Spatial Coverage

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