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The Role of Offerings in Interpreting Maya Mortuary Ritual: Bioarchaeological Analysis at Xultún

Author(s): Jessica Hotaling ; William Saturno ; Boris Beltran ; Shintaro Suzuki

Year: 2017

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Bioarchaeological analyses in the past have worked to investigate and contextualize human remains in the broader realm of ancient Maya mortuary practices. Offerings are a common component of Maya ritual; however, the role of human offerings is still not understood in its entirety. In the 2014 field season at Xultún, Petén, Guatemala, three sets of human remains were excavated within the Los Arboles structure, a pyramid complex to the north of the site. In this paper, I discuss the results of bioarchaeological analyses of these three individuals in an attempt to further explore the significance of these interments, their relationship to the associated architecture, and the pertinence of women and children in Maya worldviews regarding the afterlife. This paper provides further insight into the maintenance of ritual and ancestral obligations of the Maya at Los Arboles, and more broadly aims to answer questions surrounding the supposedly characteristic nature of mortuary practice in the Maya realm.

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The Role of Offerings in Interpreting Maya Mortuary Ritual: Bioarchaeological Analysis at Xultún. Jessica Hotaling, William Saturno, Boris Beltran, Shintaro Suzuki. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430460)


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): 17052

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