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Maya Mortuary Practices over Time and Space: The Effects of Socio-Political and Environmental Change on Mortuary Practices and the Statistical Analysis of Trends in Mortuary Characteristics

Author(s): Kirsten Green

Year: 2017

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Summary

Mortuary practices are created to convey something about the deceased individual, as well as their surviving relatives, but can also give insight into the religious, social, and political structure of the community. This paper focuses on Maya mortuary practices in Belize, and how/why those practices changed over the transition from the Formative period (2000 BC – AD 300) to the Classic Maya florescence (AD 300-800). Comparing differences of mortuary characteristics within and between communities, time periods, and/or geographic regions can tell us about the differing political systems, social stresses, population movement, kinship relationships, and ecological changes that may have effected change to a religious structure. Mortuary practices are consistently used as a proxy that reflects the complexity of the sociopolitical structure and distribution of the population allowing for bioarchaeologists and mortuary archaeologists to infer social structure, religious beliefs, population demographics, and political or ecological shifts. The Classic Maya were known for their complex ritual, social, and political structures and this chapter will identify trends in Maya mortuary practices and discuss reasons for those trends. Specifically, questions of how the complex mortuary ritual came about and how social, political, and environmental stresses were reflected in the treatment of their dead.


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Maya Mortuary Practices over Time and Space: The Effects of Socio-Political and Environmental Change on Mortuary Practices and the Statistical Analysis of Trends in Mortuary Characteristics. Kirsten Green. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431153)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14794

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