Albarradas, Solarés, and Classic Maya Land Tenure in Northwestern Belize


The traditional, but yet poorly-defined, view of Classic Maya (AD 250-850) land tenure was that control was somehow vested in the royal and elite parts of society with "commoners" occupying land at royal pleasure. The exceptions to this pattern were known in "urban" cities such as Coba and Chunchucmil in the northern Yucatan and some coastal locations such as Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. However, the latter instances are commonly thought to date to the Postclassic period and were believed to be a departure from the Classic period pattern.

A LiDAR survey in 2016 of northwestern Belize revealed large blocks or groups of residences with boundary walls at the sites of Xnoha, Grey Fox and Blue Creek. Several hundred residential houselots have boundary walls enclosing areas of 1000-1500 square meters. The potential implication of this discovery is that Maya "commoners" had very different principles of land tenure than we understood and that they were more akin to our private ownership than we previously understood.

Cite this Record

Albarradas, Solarés, and Classic Maya Land Tenure in Northwestern Belize. Thomas Guderjan, Jopshua Kwoka, Colleen Hanratty, Sara Eshleman. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444288)

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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): 19939