Activity Area Analysis of Terminal Classic period Civic Architecture at Actuncan, Belize

Author(s): David Mixter

Year: 2016


Researchers have long hypothesized that the 9th century Maya collapse resulted in the end of divine kingship as the dominant political form in the southern Maya Lowlands. In post-royal settlements, tall pyramids and labyrinthine palace spaces are deemphasized in favor of more publically-accessible open courtyards and broad platforms. Some scholars have argued for the increasing prevalence of council houses based on architectural layouts and the iconography of sculptural programs. However, little research has confirmed this interpretation with data on the actual activities that took place within post-royal public architecture. Traditionally, archaeologists who study the Maya have had difficulty understanding the daily function of public architecture due to the paucity of artifacts recovered in situ on occupation surfaces. Recent studies of geochemistry and microartifacts from occupation surfaces indicate that microscopic proxies can be used to reveal the activities that took place in these spaces. This study draws on the spatial interpolation of geochemical and microartifact data to understand activities that occurred on a civic platform constructed during the Terminal Classic period. By comparing the results of this research to similar studies of activities in Classic period palaces, I elucidate changes in the role of leaders after the failure of divine kingship.

Cite this Record

Activity Area Analysis of Terminal Classic period Civic Architecture at Actuncan, Belize. David Mixter. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404500)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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