Constructing the Social Fabric of a Community: Household Service Relationships to the Ceren Village

Author(s): Payson Sheets; Christine C. Dixon

Year: 2018


Volcanic preservation allows for detailed reconstructions of a variety of social relationships and material boundaries at Ceren. Service relationships are inferred from proximity of households associated with special-function structures, such as the religious complex, the sauna and the community governance center. These data show a social function of providing service relationships from each household to the community. Socioeconomic functions are also evident in the form of other specializations, one household producing specialty crops, another with spindle whorls for fine threads and groundstones, and another for painted gourds.The interpretation of evidence from Cerén documents the division of household groups into social units responsible for different economic needs within the community, which wove a deep fabric of social interaction. Physical markers of the Cerén landscape formed boundaries, agricultural fields separated by crop type, a sacbe and drainage canals dividing fields and providing transition from the border of the site center into the manioc field south of the community, and notably a large adobe block demarcating a division of space between fields, likely related to ownership. Such evidence from Cerén provides the rare opportunity to examine in detail the social obligations and physical divisions of a Classic Maya farming community.

Cite this Record

Constructing the Social Fabric of a Community: Household Service Relationships to the Ceren Village. Payson Sheets, Christine C. Dixon. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444292)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.57; min lat: 13.112 ; max long: -87.759; max lat: 17.937 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20036