Ceramic variation and ritual behavior at Altar de Sacrificios, Petén, Guatemala

Author(s): Jessica Munson; Lorena Paiz Aragón

Year: 2017


Located at the headwaters of the Usumacinta and the confluence of the Salinas and Pasión Rivers, Altar de Sacrificios is uniquely positioned with strategic access to points far beyond its sandy shores. Despite the geopolitical importance of this site, Altar has not featured prominently in recent narratives about the political history of Classic Maya society. After more than fifty years, a new phase of archaeological investigations seeks to bring Altar out of the shadows and reevaluate this city’s role and contributions as a place for exchange, innovation, and social interaction within the Maya lowlands. In this paper, we analyze the contents of ritual deposits excavated by Harvard University (1958-1963) and the current Altar de Sacrificios Archaeological Project (ALSAP) to gain a better understanding of the diverse ritual practices performed within this community. In particular, we focus on the variation of ceramic vessels recovered from cache deposits and burials to map out Altar’s sphere of influence and interaction during the Late Preclassic to Classic period transition.

Cite this Record

Ceramic variation and ritual behavior at Altar de Sacrificios, Petén, Guatemala. Jessica Munson, Lorena Paiz Aragón. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431901)


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): 15981