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(Re)Creating Monumental Space: The everyday use of plaza space at Aventura, Belize from the Terminal Classic to Late Postclassic

Author(s): Zachary Nissen

Year: 2017

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During the comprehensive survey of the Maya city of Aventura, Belize, the Aventura Archaeology Project (AAP) identified 29 structures located within the confines of the site’s largest monumental plaza, the A Plaza. While Maya plazas tend to be open places for ritual performance and/or market exchange, the structures in Aventura’s A Plaza, constructed with "seemingly" no regard to the orientation and layout of the site’s other monumental architecture, suggests the possibility of an alternative narrative for some Maya plaza’s. A preliminary analysis of artifacts recovered from the site suggests that its occupants shifted regional connections during the Terminal Classic Period (post CE 750), from the West (the Petén) to the North (the Yucatán). These connections were maintained through the Late Postclassic Period (ca. CE 1500) and provide insight to the construction of structures within the preexisting monumental space. This paper offers a preliminary discussion of the structures located within the boundaries of Aventura’s A Plaza. In doing so, this paper considers the everyday meanings of recreating or ritualizing the site’s monumental space within the backdrop of the social, political, and cultural changes that are occurring from the Terminal Classic to Late Postclassic periods. 

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Cite this Record

(Re)Creating Monumental Space: The everyday use of plaza space at Aventura, Belize from the Terminal Classic to Late Postclassic. Zachary Nissen. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429600)


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): 17177

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