The Role of Rockshelters among the Lowland Maya

Author(s): Marilyn Bueno

Year: 2018


Because of Maya religion’s heavy focus on the sacred Earth, subterranean spaces tend to be seen as sacred landmarks. Caves in particular have been shown to be the most promising context for the archaeological study of Maya religion (Brady and Prufer 2005). Rockshelters, however, have received less attention and appear to have identities and meanings that are negotiable across the lowlands. Recent rockshelter excavations have uncovered skeletal remains (Bonor 1995; Glassman et al. 2005; Saul et al. 2005), suggesting that some of these features may possess the only true Pre-Columbian cemeteries in the Maya lowlands. As such, rockshelters are non-normal burial locations. Discussions thus far have not engaged Maya attitudes towards death and the afterlife in attempts to explain why such cemeteries were formed. As research on rockshelters move forward, it is imperative to establish a Maya cosmological model that incorporates religious beliefs. This paper will address such questions.

Cite this Record

The Role of Rockshelters among the Lowland Maya. Marilyn Bueno. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444011)

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): 22120