Bench Please: A Comparative Analysis of Bench Features in Mesoamerica


Archaeologists have argued for numerous functions of the bench features found throughout the Maya world ranging from utilitarian to ritual. During the 2017 field season at the Late Classic site of La Obra, excavations of a centrally-located structure revealed a bench standing approximately 50 centimeters from the structure floor and extending out approximately 150 centimeters from its northern wall. La Obra is a hilltop production site located approximately one kilometer northwest of the central plaza of the site of La Milpa in the Programme for Belize perimeter. No other residential structures have yet been identified among those known and the existence of the well-preserved bench and plaster floors presents a conundrum given the site’s characteristically poor preservation. The goals of this study are to provide comparative data on the form and function of benches throughout the Maya world from which to better interpret the context of the bench found in Structure NW-1 and its role at the site of La Obra given a relative lack of associated diagnostic artifacts.

Cite this Record

Bench Please: A Comparative Analysis of Bench Features in Mesoamerica. Colleen O'Brien, Sheldon Smith, Nicole DeFrancisco. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445282)

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Architecture Other

Geographic Keywords
Mesoamerica: Maya lowlands

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.197; min lat: 16.004 ; max long: -86.682; max lat: 21.984 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22586