Negotiations in the Ritual and Social Landscape of Actuncan, Belize

Author(s): Borislava Simova

Year: 2018


Our understanding of the ancient Maya is informed to a great extent by the material remains of ritual performance in both domestic and public contexts. Maya populations throughout Mesoamerica were united by a shared cosmology patterning the timing, location, and material aspects of ritual performance. Yet, ritual was not a static or rigid construct, dutifully replicated across populations. At the site of Actuncan, Belize, we find that aspects of domestic ritual cycles, - including form, content, placement, and frequency, - show a flexible, even creative approach to ritual. In each foundation, renovation, and termination of a house, the inhabitants had the opportunity to carry out rites before groups of varying sizes, conveying a sense of community in some and distinction in others. These performances, and their material remains, were key components in the literal and figurative construction of the Actuncan community, as commoner and elite households actively reworked architectural forms and ritual templates to either perpetuate existing identities or signal new trajectories. This paper examines household ritual deposits associated with construction events as resources used to different ends by elites and commoners to negotiate interactions between existing physical structures on the landscape and sociopolitical structures in the Actuncan community.

Cite this Record

Negotiations in the Ritual and Social Landscape of Actuncan, Belize. Borislava Simova. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443814)

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): 22080