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Pushing the Limits of Power: Copan Expansionist Strategies in the El Paraíso Valley, Western Honduras

Author(s): Ellen Bell ; Marcello Canuto ; Cassandra Bill

Year: 2017

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The reign of K’ahk’ Uti’ Witz’ K’awiil, Copan Ruler 12, has been rightly hailed as a pivotal time in Copan's political history. Given that no monumental constructions on the Copan Acropolis have as yet been securely attributed to his patronage, this long-lived ruler appears to have turned his focus outward, expanding the Copan kingdom into a multi-ethnic polity with a long geographic reach. In this paper we explore Ruler 12's administrative strategy in one region of the Copan kingdom, the El Paraíso Valley. Stratigraphic evidence, radiocarbon dating, pottery and other portable material culture, and stylistic analysis of mosaic architectural sculpture suggest that the site of El Paraíso was established as a Copan-style administrative center in the mid-7th century A.D., nearly 20 years after Ruler 12's accession. In this paper we bring recent analyses to bear on questions about the timing, function, and affiliation of this center and its founding.

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Pushing the Limits of Power: Copan Expansionist Strategies in the El Paraíso Valley, Western Honduras. Ellen Bell, Marcello Canuto, Cassandra Bill. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431164)


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): 14402

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