An Osteobiography of Skeletal Remains from Holtun, Guatemala


Excavations at the site of Holtun, Guatemala during the 2014 – 2017 field seasons yielded eighteen human burials from various temporal periods and site locations. Holtun was inhabited by the ancient Maya from the Middle Preclassic (1000 – 300 BCE) to the Terminal Classic Period (600 – 900 CE). Recent archaeological investigations have identified the Preclassic period at Holtun as a time characterized by increasing social inequality, but few burials have been recovered to infer the impact of social change on individual health. This poster describes skeletal observations and analysis of the burials excavated from Holtun. Individual osteobiographies are created for each due to variation in preservation, mortuary features, and chronology. Specifically, this research will examine patterns in age-at-death, sex, presence of pathology, and cultural modification, in conjunction with mortuary data to begin the exploration of social identity as reflected in burial remains. Unique features, including dental modification, suggest some individuals exhibited elevated social status exemplified with burial in the site core. The results of this study contribute to research regarding the nuances of increasing social complexity at Holtun, and broadly contribute to our knowledge of ancient Maya life and the intersection of skeletal health and inferred social status.

Cite this Record

An Osteobiography of Skeletal Remains from Holtun, Guatemala. Victoria Izzo, Jennifer Marla Toyne, Michael Callaghan, Brigitte Kovacevich. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443329)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.197; min lat: 16.004 ; max long: -86.682; max lat: 21.984 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22176