Household Distributions and Social Organization of the Ancient Maya in Southern Belize

Author(s): Amy Thompson; Jillian Jordan; Keith M. Prufer

Year: 2018


This paper examines processes of low-density urban development through geospatial analyses of households at two Classic Period (AD 250-800) Maya communities, Uxbenká and Ix Kuku’il. Located in the southern foothills of the Maya Mountains, Toledo District, Belize, these centers were situated are similar landscapes yet exhibited distinctly different household distributions. Wherein Uxbenká had geospatially discrete districts and neighborhoods while Ix Kuku’il’s houses were more evenly distributed across the landscape with little evidence of social clustering. We compare several methods in a discussion of how archaeologists can model past human behaviors across a regional landscape based on both geospatial and chronological data in conjunction with material goods. Furthermore, we statistically analyze the influence of several social and ecological resources on the settlement patterns at Uxbenká and Ix Kuku’il. The results of these analyses suggest that the variations in household distributions reflect shifts in human decision-making dynamics during transitions of sociopolitical integration from autonomous, self-governing social units to top-down centralized authority influencing settlement locations.

Cite this Record

Household Distributions and Social Organization of the Ancient Maya in Southern Belize. Amy Thompson, Jillian Jordan, Keith M. Prufer. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443601)

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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): 20311