Skull Offerings: The Koxol Offertory Assemblage in the Maya Area

Author(s): Johann Begel; Julien Hiquet

Year: 2019


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

Skull offerings among the ancient populations of Mesoamerica are well documented by archaeological, ethnohistorical and iconographic sources. New finds in 2017, in the Lowland Maya Classic site of Naachtun (Guatemala) required intersite comparisons beyond the few well-known cases such as Uaxactun E-Group’s deposits. The association of a cached human skull and a pair of ceramics was defined by William Coe as Tikal’s Koxol so-called "offertory assemblage". The human remains in these peculiar deposits are obviously linked either to sacrificial, burial or post-interment practices, but even at this scale of analysis, no attempt was ever made to undertake a systematic study. As a consequence, this paper represents the first step in the remarkably difficult task of understanding the sense and meaning of these very peculiar Maya offerings, and of caches in general, often described in the literature, but actually very poorly understood. A careful selection of truly isolated skull offerings revealed a broadly shared ritual tradition among most of the Maya area. On the basis of a corpus of 73 deposits from 27 Maya sites identified to date, this paper aims at classifying the variations of this skull offertory assemblage and to follow its distribution in the Maya area through time.

Cite this Record

Skull Offerings: The Koxol Offertory Assemblage in the Maya Area. Johann Begel, Julien Hiquet. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450178)

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): 24598