A Non-elite Termination Ritual at the Classic Maya Capital of Tamarindito


In Classic Maya society, termination rituals were conducted to ‘kill’ buildings and artifacts, predominantly in elite contexts. The resulting deposits were rapidly deposited in intentionally damaged buildings. They contain dense artifact assemblages with exotic objects and refittable ceramic sherds. After burning them, the artifacts were covered with white marl. Here, we report the extensive excavation of non-elite Structure 5PS-12 at the outskirts of the Classic Maya capital of Tamarindito. Its use and abandonment date to the eighth century AD and towards the end of the site’s royal dynasty. The destruction of its wall foundations and the even distribution of wallfall suggest that the building was dismantled. Wallfall and floor contained many complete tools and rare artifacts, particularly in the north annex. Refitted ceramic sherds indicate that partial vessels were broken apart and systematically distributed across the building. The lack of a marl cover and limited evidence of burning set Structure 5PS-12 apart from elite termination rituals. The artifact assemblage largely mirrors non-elite contexts and customs. Tamarindito Structure 5PS-12 attests to termination rituals as a ritual practice shared throughout Classic Maya society. Its specific characteristics manifest a discourse of social differentiation.

Cite this Record

A Non-elite Termination Ritual at the Classic Maya Capital of Tamarindito. Markus Eberl, Sven Gronemeyer, Claudia Marie Vela González. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443841)

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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): 20898