Geoarchaeology at La Milpa, Belize: An Ancient Maya Community and Its Temple

Author(s): Debora Trein

Year: 2016


This paper discusses the preliminary results of geochemical and micromorphological analysis of sediments at Structure 3, a monumental temple structure at the site of La Milpa, northwest Belize. This analysis forms part of a project that aims to examine the impact of a community in shaping the functions of monumental architecture. Artifact and architectural evidence gathered at Structure 3 have indicated that the Late Classic period (550-850 CE) constituted a time of intense access and use of the areas surrounding the temple structure. Nevertheless, this dataset was found to be insufficiently fine-grained to enable the identification of specific types of activities, necessary in understanding how Structure 3 functioned in relation to its community. In order to identify and differentiate between discreet activity areas geochemical characterization of sediments through ICP-MS and ICP-AES, and sediment micromorphology were employed in 130 loose sediment and 20 sediment core samples taken from and around Structure 3. Both these techniques are considered to be highly successful in the study of activity areas in the archaeological record, but have had a relatively limited history of application in the Maya Lowlands.

Cite this Record

Geoarchaeology at La Milpa, Belize: An Ancient Maya Community and Its Temple. Debora Trein. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404810)

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Spatial Coverage

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