The Origins of Maya Civilization: New Evidence from Ceibal and Sites in the Middle Usumacinta Basin

Author(s): Daniela Triadan

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Preclassic Maya Social Transformations along the Usumacinta: Views from Ceibal and Aguada Fénix" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The analysis of new LiDAR data has revealed many previously unknown early Middle Preclassic sites in the Middle Usumacinta drainage. The sites are monumental in their extensions and consist of a large rectangular feature or platform oriented slightly east of north, delineated by low mounds and an E-Group in the center of the rectangular construction. The architectural layout of these sites is so consistent that we have called it the Middle Formative Usumacinta (MFU) pattern. Excavations at two of these sites have shown that their constructions date to before 800 BC. They also show some remarkable consistencies in ceramics and building techniques with Ceibal, approximately 180 km to the southeast. They, as well as the early Middle Preclassic constructions at Ceibal, are marked by a planned horizontal monumentality from their inception, and these arrangements show planning and the participation of large groups of people engaged in communal ritual building efforts, who were probably still adhering to a mobile lifestyle. Our data suggest interactions between Ceibal and populations who lived in the middle Usumacinta drainage. These new data indicate radically different processes in the transitions to a sedentary lifestyle and increased social complexity for the early Maya than previously thought.

Cite this Record

The Origins of Maya Civilization: New Evidence from Ceibal and Sites in the Middle Usumacinta Basin. Daniela Triadan. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450569)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23982