Ts’uul y Páalitsil: Considering the Role of Debt at Rancho Kiuic, Yucatán, México

Author(s): Mary Morgan-Smith

Year: 2018


The accumulation of debt by Maya speaking laborers has long been understood as integral to Yucatán’s hacienda system in the 19th century. Though the contexts and nature of creditor-debtor relationships are variable and contested, evidence for debt is consistently present in documents related to large, corporate estates. But what does indebtedness look like beyond the hacienda on small-scale estates? In the absence of historical documents, or evidence of a company store, can debt be observed materially? This paper examines the role of debt in the relationship between landowners and laborers at Rancho Kiuic (ca. 1760-1950); a small, privately-owned cattle ranching estate in the Puuc Hills of Yucatán, Mexico. Owned and worked by generations of Maya speakers, narratives of indebtedness to the Rancho’s owners are woven throughout the oral history of the community. Inequalities evident in the site’s household assemblages will be considered alongside the social memory of labor relations at the Rancho in exploring debt’s role in sustaining the Rancho’s laborer population.

Cite this Record

Ts’uul y Páalitsil: Considering the Role of Debt at Rancho Kiuic, Yucatán, México. Mary Morgan-Smith. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444280)

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): 20446