Exchanging and Sharing Food In the Classic Maya polity of Motul de San José

Author(s): Kitty Emery; Antonia Foias; Erin Thornton

Year: 2017


Anthropologists often describe food as the cement that holds people together both by symbolizing shared values and by the practice of sharing food. But in Maya archaeology, "food" is also often assumed to have been acquired locally and consumed primarily at the family level, therefore having a limited role in creating and maintaining alliances except in special circumstances. In contrast, our recent interdisciplinary research at the Classic period Motul de San José polity, Guatemala, argues against this model and shows that basic foodstuffs like meat and corn were exchanged among sites and also among members of different status groups and occupations within those sites. In this case study we use data from Maya archaeological animal remains and food-related artifacts to explore how basic foodstuffs, not just special feast foods, were used as a social cement to identify and bind social and political entities.

Cite this Record

Exchanging and Sharing Food In the Classic Maya polity of Motul de San José. Kitty Emery, Antonia Foias, Erin Thornton. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431230)


Food 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): 14911