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The Highland Maya Conquests of the Northern Transversal Strip from the Early Postclassic through the 21st Century

Author(s): Alexander Rivas ; Brent Woodfill

Year: 2017

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Summary

Salinas de los Nueve Cerros was a massive city in west-central Guatemala that was built around the only non-coastal salt source in the Maya lowlands. In spite of this lowland location, highlanders were drawn to it for its agricultural potential and the rich concentration of salt. In this paper, we will look at the three major colonization attempts of the saltworks and the surrounding region by Maya highlanders—the Early Postclassic, the conquest period, and the late 20th century. After the city was abandoned in the Early Postclassic, the salt source was actively exploited by highland groups. Around 1600, the Gulf Coast Akalaha’ Maya pushed them out; the conversion of the Maya of Verapaz appears to have been part of a larger strategy to take it back. The region was largely devoid of permanent residents after a Spanish incursion in the 1690s, leaving it to be exploited by Q’eqchi’ and other highland Maya families. During the Guatemalan civil war, many of these families started to move into the region full-time, and today it is one of the principal centers of highland Maya culture in spite of its lowland location.


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The Highland Maya Conquests of the Northern Transversal Strip from the Early Postclassic through the 21st Century. Alexander Rivas, Brent Woodfill. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429954)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Mesoamerica


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15249

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