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Ascendancy through Ancestry: Evidence of Late Classic Sociopolitical Change at the Ancient Maya Site of Pacbitun, Belize

Author(s): George J. Micheletti

Year: 2017

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Summary

The ceremonial architecture of Pacbitun’s epicentral plaza was recently discovered to have underwent a drastic early Late Classic (AD 550 – 700) transformation. The assemblage, originally designated as a Southern Lowland architectural archetype known as an E Group complex, was uniquely modified physically and adopted an intensive mortuary practice that seemingly altered the group’s function. The inclusion of several Late Classic elite interments suggests that Pacbitun’s ceremonial assemblage had begun to function as another Southern Lowland archetype known as an eastern shrine. Continuing with this investigation, the next task would be to identify what this archetypal conversion might signify for the site. To do this, it will be important to understand what the E Group and eastern shrine archetypes are thought to represent in Maya society. It will also be important to understand how the meaning of ancestor veneration evolved through time. This paper will detail the projected significance of both archetypes and explain the sociopolitical motivation behind placing ancestors into these structures. I plan to demonstrate that the conversion of Pacbitun’s most time-honored, sacred monumental public work would have had tremendous communal and administerial ramifications and may suggest the site was experiencing sociopolitical change in the Late Classic.


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Ascendancy through Ancestry: Evidence of Late Classic Sociopolitical Change at the Ancient Maya Site of Pacbitun, Belize. George J. Micheletti. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 428825)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14800

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