Dentition, Kinship, and Status in the Mopan-Macal Triangle: Small-Sample Insights into Classic Maya Social Organization in Central Western Belize
Classic Maya social status is more complex than an elite verses non-elite dichotomy. Research suggests that a "middle" status group exists. However, the social segment from which they arise is unknown. This study focuses on individuals from the urban center of Buenavista del Cayo who are below the ruling elites in the "middle" rungs of social status, and those from the neighboring farming community of Guerra who are recognized as nonelites. Previous research suggested that no biological affinity existed between the ruling elite and the "middle" status groups. Thus, we hypothesized that there would be a biological connection between the "middle" status group and the nonelites at these sites. Our study used a bio-cultural approach to interpret social connections by comparing dental characteristics (crown size and trait expression) and archaeological evidence to assess whether there was biological affinity between these two social groups. Our results indicate that there was shared affinity, suggesting that middle status individuals maintained biological and cultural ties with the nonelite group. Thus, the evidence in this study suggests that kinship, or biological affinity, was the basis for the social structure, organization, and membership patterns of these Maya communities during the Classic period.
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Dentition, Kinship, and Status in the Mopan-Macal Triangle: Small-Sample Insights into Classic Maya Social Organization in Central Western Belize. Erin Blankenship-Sefczek, Joseph Ball. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444555)
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min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21687