Some Thoughts on Altar 3, Pacbitun, Belize


The rise of public monumental architecture in the Maya Middle Preclassic (900-400 BC) and the eventual development of divine kingship during the Early Classic (AD 250-550) constitute social processes that remain comparatively obscure. Nevertheless, they are increasingly illuminated as new empirical evidence is uncovered from research projects such as the Pacbitun Regional Archaeology Project. Ongoing work at Pacbitun, Belize, has brought to light considerable new information that can clarify these processes, in the form of early architecture in Plaza A, associated artifacts, and particularly carved monuments. Discovered during the 2016 field season, in Structure 25, within the palatial group, a new fragment of Altar 3 prompts us to reconsider the dating, stylistic attributes, iconographic program and epigraphy of this important monument. Here, we present a new drawing of the monument and comment on the temporal incidence of the iconography’s stylistic attributes and touch on paleographic features of the epigraphy. Together these data provide us with important information concerning Early Classic kingship at Pacbitun, against which the secondary contexts wherein the fragments of this monument were found can be gauged, thereby begin to sketch out some of the historical benchmarks of this monument’s biography.

Cite this Record

Some Thoughts on Altar 3, Pacbitun, Belize. Sheldon Skaggs, Christophe Helmke, Jon Spenard, Paul Healy, Terry Powis. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429530)

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kingship Maya Monument

Geographic Keywords
Central America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.702; min lat: 6.665 ; max long: -76.685; max lat: 18.813 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14861