Methods for Intensive Data Collection on Terminal Deposits in the Belize River Valley, Belize

Author(s): Sydney Lonaker; Julie Hoggarth; Jaime Awe

Year: 2017


Terminal deposits, defined here as dense midden-like assemblages that contain non-elite and elite paraphernalia (i.e. utilitarian and decorated ceramic vessels, faunal remains, obsidian blades, ground stone tools, and human remains) have been discovered at sites across central and northern Belize. Despite the research on these features, there is little consensus on what type of activities these deposits represent. In the past, archaeologists have labelled these deposits as de facto refuse, primary or transposed middens, problematic deposits, termination rituals, garbage associated with feasting events, evidence for rapid abandonment, and post-abandonment rituals. Systemically testing these hypotheses is difficult, as research projects excavate these deposits using a range of methods. This makes direct comparisons across regions challenging. In an effort to better understand the composition, deposition, function, and spatial patterns of these terminal deposits, the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project (BVAR) developed standardized documentation and excavation protocols for excavating the deposits. This presentation describes the methods used in these excavations, including photogrammetry, mapping, and intensive recording of dateable organic material and polychrome ceramics. We propose these new approaches for creating comparable datasets across regions.

Cite this Record

Methods for Intensive Data Collection on Terminal Deposits in the Belize River Valley, Belize. Sydney Lonaker, Julie Hoggarth, Jaime Awe. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429585)

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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): 15168