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Machetes, Metates, and Majolica: San Pedro Maya Involvement in the Colonial Economy at Kaxil Uinic Village, Belize

Author(s): Gertrude Kilgore ; Brooke Bonorden ; Brett Houk

Year: 2017

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Following the outbreak of the Caste War in the Yucatán (1847-1901), a group of San Pedro Maya established the village of Kaxil Uinic in northwestern Belize (formerly British Honduras). In the wake of the Battle of San Pedro between British and Maya forces in 1867, the Lieutenant Governor of British Honduras issued a decree to delegitimize San Pedro Maya claims to land, undermining their subsistence economy and forcing them into wage labor for the logging and chicle industries. O. Nigel Bolland (2003:111) characterizes the period during which Kaxil Uinic was inhabited (ca. 1880-1931) as the consolidation of British jurisdiction over the Maya and their incorporation into the colonial social structure. A critical analysis of archaeological and archival data gathered over two field seasons reveals that the inhabitants of Kaxil Uinic selectively participated in the colonial economy according to their needs. Strategic interaction with logging firms, the chicle industry, and the colonial administration allowed the residents to maintain some social, political, and economic autonomy through the supplemental use of imported goods and cash alongside locally made tools and vessels. Data from Kaxil Uinic demonstrates this amalgamation of indigenous and European technologies, where residents navigated the ever-changing cultural landscape of British Honduras.

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Machetes, Metates, and Majolica: San Pedro Maya Involvement in the Colonial Economy at Kaxil Uinic Village, Belize. Gertrude Kilgore, Brooke Bonorden, Brett Houk. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431978)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.702; min lat: 6.665 ; max long: -76.685; max lat: 18.813 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15988

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