The View from Below: Plaza Spaces at Actuncan, Belize

Author(s): Angela Keller

Year: 2018


Formal plazas constitute the majority of public space in Maya centers and yet, until quite recently, plazas have not received the same investigative attention as the impressive pyramids and palaces that surround them. This neglect is largely due to the difficulty of investigating public plazas, which typically contain few artifactual or structural indications of their ancient use. Although the identification of activity in ancient plazas is technically challenging, a dedicated investigation of plazas is nonetheless essential to our understanding of how centers functioned in Maya society. Public plazas were the venues for the bulk of a center’s daily activities from ritual, dance, and sacrifice, to market trade and the settling of disputes. This paper presents the results of two seasons of plaza-focused fieldwork at the site of Actuncan, Belize combining rapid systematic data collection, soil chemistry analysis, macro- and micro-artifact analysis, remote sensing, and targeted excavations. This research program has allowed us to detect subtle patterns that may reflect distinctive past practices in the plazas of Actuncan.

Cite this Record

The View from Below: Plaza Spaces at Actuncan, Belize. Angela Keller. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443813)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21809