Putting the Pieces Together: Maax Na in Its Regional Context


Twenty years of research at the large prehispanic Maya site of Maax Na in northwestern Belize have yielded insights not only into site organization and function, but also into its role in the Three Rivers Region. Ongoing investigations of a marketplace and of local caves indicate that Maax Na, while probably not the political capital that its neighbor La Milpa was, nonetheless had a distinct and important regional function as a religious and marketing center. Investigation of water management and agricultural areas further illuminate its role and add to the range of practices documented for the region. To complement this site-centric research, we have also pursued broader inquiries that link Maax Na with other communities. These include investigations into the small, agriculturally specialized site of Bolsa Verde, midway between Maax Na and Dos Hombres, and chemical sourcing of limestone monuments at Maax Na and other sites, to understand patterns of procurement and distribution. The picture emerging from this research is of a complex region, where sites of all sizes played distinctive and interconnected roles. It challenges common models of Maya polities, where one large site dominates in every aspect, and invites us to consider alternative views of regional dynamics.

Cite this Record

Putting the Pieces Together: Maax Na in Its Regional Context. Eleanor King, Michael Brennan, Beverly Chiarulli, Christine Taylor, Darcie Flanigan. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431526)


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): 14902