A Toast to the Gods and Ancestors: The Role of Beverages in Classic Maya Elite Cave Ritual in West Central Belize
For the past two decades, considerable archaeological attention in the Maya area has been paid to ritual cave practices and absorbed residue analysis of pottery, yet these two areas of research have not intersected. In this paper, we discuss the results of the kinds of liquid residues identified in monochrome and unslipped pottery vessels from caves around the site of Pacbitun in west central Belize, where extensive research in Classic Maya elite behavior has taken place. While we know the elite were performing religious rituals in these sacred landmarks, we do not have a full picture of the role of drinks/beverages used in these ceremonies. Epigraphic and iconographic analyses of polychrome pots have provided some information about ancient vessel contents, but this approach is not possible for vessels lacking hieroglyphic and/or pictorial evidence, as are those discussed in this paper. Our residue results bridge this gap, but more importantly, contribute to our understanding of specific elite subterranean activities. Through our research we are able to identify what type of liquids the vessels contained, and which ceramic types they are associated with. Importantly, we also compare these results to the Pacbitun site core for a better understanding of elite behavior there.
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A Toast to the Gods and Ancestors: The Role of Beverages in Classic Maya Elite Cave Ritual in West Central Belize. Terry Powis, Jon Spenard, Adam King, Nilesh Gaikwad. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431238)
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min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;
Abstract Id(s): 16815