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The Fluidity of Ideology: A Late Classic Architectural Transformation in Plaza A at the Ancient Maya Site of Pacbitun, Belize

Author(s): George Micheletti

Year: 2016

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Summary

The ceremonial heart of the ancient Maya site of Pacbitun, thriving for the site’s entire 2000 year existence, must have held an enormous amount of cosmological significance to its inhabitants. However, while the sacredness of this location remained constant, the ideology within this space was incessantly in flux. Over the past 30 years, Plaza A excavations have revealed numerous architectural transformations signifying sociopolitical unrest. One such transformation is archaeologically evident in Pacbitun’s ceremonial E Group complex occurring sometime in the Late Classic period (550-700 AD). In a recent study, Jaime Awe (2016) recognized that Pacbitun and several other Belize Valley E Groups have been found with unique architecture and an abundant amount of interments implying that these structures act more as eastern shrines than E Group complexes. Attempting to identify defining attributes of E Groups and eastern shrines, a closer inspection of Pacbitun’s assemblage has found characteristics that belong to both archetypes. This paper will present evidence to suggest that Pacbitun’s ceremonial assemblage was originally constructed as an E Group but later transitioned into a shrine like complex. If this is correct, this transition coincides with other construction activity at the site possibly signifying social and/or political change.


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The Fluidity of Ideology: A Late Classic Architectural Transformation in Plaza A at the Ancient Maya Site of Pacbitun, Belize. George Micheletti. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405211)


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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