Distributed Site Cores and Low-Density Urban Settlement at the Site of Zibal, Belize

Author(s): Eric Fries

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The sites of Zibal and Kich’pan Uitz in western Belize, recorded as minor Maya centers by the Aguacate Regional Archaeology Project, have recently been investigated via remote sensing, survey and test excavation. As a result, we see that these two clusters of monumental structures, along with their secondary nodes, are located in a continuous fabric of settlement that covers the surrounding area. The two monumental groups, separated by 1.5 km, can thus be understood as distributed central locations of the same site. This low-density urban settlement pattern is consistent with recent findings across the southern Maya lowlands. Testing at the Zibal site indicates that the monumental core was established in the Preclassic and went through multiple configurations and phases of construction. The establishment of low-density urbanism settlement patterns in close proximity to minor site cores located in remote areas may be taken as an indicator that low-density urbanism is an early and pervasive feature of Maya settlement, rather than a later development.

Cite this Record

Distributed Site Cores and Low-Density Urban Settlement at the Site of Zibal, Belize. Eric Fries. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449553)

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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): 24876