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Marine Fossils and Domestic Ritual in Maya Commoner Households: Two Neighborhoods in the Classic Maya City of Palenque

Author(s): Lauren Herckis

Year: 2016

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Summary

Marine fossils carried an important symbolic load for elites in the Classic Maya city of Palenque. Recent excavations demonstrate that marine fossils were intentionally employed in a variety of ways by commoners in hinterland domestic contexts as well. Despite a shared symbology, such use varied across the landscape: inhabitants of different neighborhoods had different practices surrounding these materials. The special significance of marine fossils in commoner households is particularly evident in the preparation of riverine resources for consumption and in domestic ritual. It is particularly notable during the Late Classic, a time when marine fossils were being incorporated into monumental architecture and ritually significant contexts in the city center. The current paper presents a discussion of the functional and ritual uses of these objects. It additionally explores marine fossils as a lens through which to reveal the role of the city in hinterland identity and vice versa, as commoners in the hinterland of Palenque simultaneously performed their affiliation with the city and with the sacred, and elites in the center performed their affiliation with the people of the broader region.


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Marine Fossils and Domestic Ritual in Maya Commoner Households: Two Neighborhoods in the Classic Maya City of Palenque. Lauren Herckis. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404996)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Mesoamerica


Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America