Identity and the Maya Mid-level Elite as a Proxy for Political Change

Author(s): Misha Miller-Sisson

Year: 2016


The nuances of identity theory can be a helpful in determining social stratification within a site and determining intrasite political processes. Archaeology is specially suited for identity studies due to the nature of material culture as an integral part in social practices. While individual identities are difficult to parse out under the best circumstances, analysis of artifact distribution across a site can yield insight into group identities and the practices that follow them. Designation of group identities along both vertical and horizontal hierarchical axes can allow for larger analysis of political processes by noting changes within both alignments. The Maya site of Uxul presents an appropriate case study for utilizing identity theory to examine shifts in political power across hierarchal axes within a site due to the documented changes in political structures that occurred at the site in the Late Classic (650 A.D.). These political shifts are documented in the hieroglyphic record of the site when with the incursion of the Ka’an polity in the Late Classic. Analysis of the changes in archaeological assemblages between different groups in Uxul highlight the intrasite shifts in power and identity that coincided with the larger political change.

Cite this Record

Identity and the Maya Mid-level Elite as a Proxy for Political Change. Misha Miller-Sisson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404826)

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Elite Identity Maya

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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