Demystifying Southern Lowland Chultunes: The Ritual Space Hypothesis

Author(s): Paulo Medina

Year: 2017


This investigation’s working hypothesis is that chultunes, manmade subterranean features, served as ritual spaces in the southern Maya lowlands. The hypothesis is an outgrowth of my grounding in cave archaeology. Ethnographically, even subterranean features used for utilitarian activities, such as mining, come to have sacred meaning and this phenomenon can be documented in ethnohistoric sources. However, my hypothesis has not been tested. Dennis Puleston argued for a utilitarian function of chultunes based on his perception of these features occurring exclusively in rural areas while others have argued for their more frequent location in centers. I will conduct a preliminary examination on the spatial distribution of chultunes and their relationship with other architectural features at various sites and make a connection between chultunes and caves.

Cite this Record

Demystifying Southern Lowland Chultunes: The Ritual Space Hypothesis. Paulo Medina. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430295)


Cave chultun Maya

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15060