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Regional Diversity and Population Migration of the Classic Maya: Stable Isotope Analysis of Individuals from the Holmul Region, Guatemala

Author(s): Aviva Cormier ; Francisco Estrada-Belli

Year: 2017

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Summary

Stable isotope analysis is a productive tool for understanding the migratory histories of past populations in various regions of the world, including the ancient Maya. This paper presents the strontium and oxygen isotopic ratio values of dental enamel samples as compared to the geographical location of burial to address questions of regional identity, population migration, and social complexity of the Maya at the archaeological site of Holmul and the nearby centers of La Suficaya, K’o, Cival, Hamontun, Barton Ramie, and Uaxactun. The results of 68 individuals are reported here, selected from the osteological remains excavated by the current Holmul Archaeological Project and early 20th century excavations by the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University. The biological profiles of the individuals (burial treatment, estimated age, biological sex, perimortem trauma, cultural modification, pathology, and/or dental health) are combined with stable isotope analyses to understand the geographical diversity and mobility patterns of the Classic Maya. The application of this methodology can serve to encourage scholars throughout the Maya region and the world to analyze dental enamel as an alternative to bone collagen, especially in situations of poor preservation of human remains and difficult excavation locales.


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Regional Diversity and Population Migration of the Classic Maya: Stable Isotope Analysis of Individuals from the Holmul Region, Guatemala. Aviva Cormier, Francisco Estrada-Belli. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429950)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17091

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