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Exploring the Changing Roles of Maya E-groups: Geochemical Analysis of E-group Plaster Floors at Actuncan, Belize

Author(s): Borislava Simova ; E. Christian Wells ; Lisa LeCount

Year: 2017

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E-Groups were among the first monumental spaces constructed in Middle Preclassic Maya centers and served as important venues for negotiating social interactions and political integration of newly settled peoples. Starting in the Late Preclassic period, their roles began to shift. At some sites, such as Tikal and Uaxactun, votive offerings signifying communal ritual were replaced with dedicatory stelas or royal interments marking exclusionary practices and political appropriation of these spaces. Excavations within the eastern platform of Actuncan’s E-group lend evidence to suggest a different trajectory. Rather than exhibiting practices of exclusionary kingship seen at central Petén E-Groups, the Maya of Actuncan continued to cache ceramics and erect a variety of wooden features interpreted as temporary altars, shrines, or world trees. To help further understand the kinds of activities that occurred at Actuncan’s E-Group and how they might have changed through time, we conducted geochemical analysis of five sequential occupation surfaces spanning the Late Preclassic Period (300 BC-AD 250). Results indicate the nature and distribution of activities during this period with implications for understanding the role of E-groups in the evolution of Actuncan’s site core.

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Exploring the Changing Roles of Maya E-groups: Geochemical Analysis of E-group Plaster Floors at Actuncan, Belize. Borislava Simova, E. Christian Wells, Lisa LeCount. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431433)


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): 14834

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