Preclassic Landscape Modifications and Regional Networks at El Tintal, Petén, Guatemala


The site of El Tintal, located in northern Petén, Guatemala, provides early evidence of monumental construction, initiating with the large-scale transformation of the landscape in preparation for the site’s ceremonial core, followed by construction programs consisting of pyramids, elevated causeways, and a diversity of hydraulic features. Recent investigations at El Tintal have shed light on its Preclassic settlement, organized around what we propose was an ancient lagoon which settlers connected to the larger regional fluvial network by the construction of a 2.4 km-long artificial canal. Preliminary investigations show that this canal, although mostly constructed following a traditional open-channel design, appears to have had two sections flowing underground, with tunnel sections carved into the underlying bedrock, providing the first evidence of complex hydraulic engineering at such an early stage. El Tintal maintained a complex interregional network relying on both foot travel over causeways and trails, as well as canoe transportation across what is increasingly looking like a significantly more humid regional landscape. In this paper, we present our findings and supporting evidence, as well as initial interpretations which we believe are consequential in the understanding of Preclassic geopolitics.

Cite this Record

Preclassic Landscape Modifications and Regional Networks at El Tintal, Petén, Guatemala. Mary Jane Acuña, Carlos Chiriboga, Varinia Matute, Francisco Castañeda. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444919)

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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): 20544