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Comparison of a Community-Scale Classic Maya Political Adaptive Cycle with a Bimonthly-Resolved Paleoclimate Record from Uxbenká, Belize

Author(s): Valorie Aquino ; Douglas J. Kennett ; Yemane Asmerom ; Keith Prufer

Year: 2017

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Summary

In studies of human-environment interactions, the conceptual framework of panarchy and its associated resilience theory posit that periods of stability and transformation are inevitable in what has been termed an "adaptive cycle". This presentation discusses the reconstruction of a community-level political adaptive cycle for Uxbenká, an ancient agrarian polity in the Maya hinterlands, and explores its linkages with the broader political ideology of divine kingship and climate stress. Employing Bayesian age modeling of more than 60 radiocarbon dates associated with construction events and data on a potential dynastic lineage, along with the introduction of original, bimonthly-resolved local paleoclimate data, we assess cycles of growth, maintenance, decline and renewal in the built environment history of the civic-ceremonial precinct as proxies for the stability or instability of political power and authority. Furthermore, while multiple studies have compared cultural records with rainfall abundance and deficits, we discuss the important role of short- and longer-term climate unpredictability from an ultra-precise speleothem paleoclimate record. This work produces insights on some of the conditions that confer or erode the resilience of political actors embedded in a coupled socionatural landscape.


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Cite this Record

Comparison of a Community-Scale Classic Maya Political Adaptive Cycle with a Bimonthly-Resolved Paleoclimate Record from Uxbenká, Belize. Valorie Aquino, Douglas J. Kennett, Yemane Asmerom, Keith Prufer. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431962)


Keywords

General
Climate Maya Resilience

Geographic Keywords
Mesoamerica


Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17504

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