Community Archaeology and (Post)Colonial Identities in Northernmost Belize

Author(s): Zachary Nissen

Year: 2019


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

This paper investigates the "who/what" that constitutes "the local community" in engaged community archaeologies. It will do so by discussing community events organized by the Aventura Archaeology Project, as well as preliminary ethnographic and oral historical work I have conducted in the San Joaquin Village and Corozal Town areas of northernmost Belize. This paper seeks to further community archaeology’s commitment to being self-reflexive in practice by offering a critical perspective on the desire to directly link the distant "Maya" past to local communities in the present. Due to long histories of colonialism and imperialism, the answer to the above question is and should be biologically, socially, and politically complicated, rather than easy and straightforward. I will show that "the local community" for whom engagement events are designed are not a single homogenous group of people with one shared history. I argue that an engaged archaeology in (post)colonial contexts must be aware and maintain a critical perspective on the long-term and often violent histories that brought into being contemporary communities. Finally, I will discuss how this awareness of variations in local community identities/histories provides new ground through which locals can collaborate in and engage with archaeological narratives of the distant past.

Cite this Record

Community Archaeology and (Post)Colonial Identities in Northernmost Belize. Zachary Nissen. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449971)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25906